Racer Jason Leffler died of injuries suffered in a sprint car wreck at Bridgesport Speedway in Logan Township, N.J., on Wednesday night. He was 37-years-old. After his car flipped down the front straightaway and hit the wall during a heat race, Leffler had to be extricated from the car and was transported to Crozer-Chester Medical Center in nearby Chester, Pa. He was pronounced dead at approximately 9 p.m. ET on Wednesday.
Over the years, Leffler competed at all three national levels of NASCAR — Sprint Cup, Nationwide and Camping World Truck. He won twice in Nationwide Series competition and posted a single win in the Truck Series.
NASCAR issued the following statement: “”NASCAR extends its thoughts, prayers and deepest sympathies to the family of Jason Leffler who passed away earlier this evening. For more than a decade, Jason was a fierce competitor in our sport and he will be missed.”
Leffler had 73 starts in the Sprint Cup Series, with the most recent one comping at Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, Pa., on June 9. His most notable time at the Cup level was in 2005 when he drove the then-new No. 11 car for Joe Gibbs Racing. He raced the No. 11 for the first half of the 2005 season before being replaced by Denny Hamlin, who has driven that car ever since.
Leffler also competed in 56 Camping World Truck Series events. He won at Dover (Del.) International Speedway in 2003, driving for Ultra Motorsports. The previous season, also driving for Ultra, he claimed eight pole starts, tying him for the record of most poles in a season in the Truck Series. Leffler started the 2012 season as the primary driver for the No. 18 Kyle Busch Motorsports entry, but was released from that ride during the season.
Most of Leffler’s time on NASCAR’s national stage was spent in the Nationwide Series where he made 294 starts. His two wins on that circuit came in 2004 at Nashville (Ten.) Superspeedway and Lucal Oil Raceway Park in Indianapolis (formerly known as Indianapolis Raceway Park) in 2007 — the first win for Toyota in the series. The 2007 season was Leffler’s best, from a points standpoint, as he finished third in the championship points standings.
Much of Leffler’s time in the Nationwide Series was spent driving the No. 38 entry for Braun Racing that was eventually sold and becaume Turner Scott Motorsports. A little more than a year after the sale, Leffler was relieved of his driving duties for Turner Scott (then known as Turner Motorsports).
While most of his adult years were spent racing in the NASCAR ranks, USAC was where Leffler thrived. He won three straight USAC Midget titles between 1997 and 1999 and won the Silver Crown title in 1998. Leffler was inducted into the National Midget Racing Hall of Fame in 2003.
“He also displayed the skills that would help him reach the top levels of the sport by winning four USAC national series titles while winning on tracks throughout the Midwest,” Indianapolis Motor Speedway COO J. Douglas Boles said. “Jason was a terrific guy who always had time for everyone. Our deepest sympathies are extended to his entire family, team and fans.”
Leffler was divorced. He is survived by a young son, Charlie Dean Leffler.
– Photo courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR