NASCAR and sprint car racer Jason Leffler died from injuries sustained in a sprint car crash on Wednesday evening.
The 37-year-old was racing in a short track event at Bridgeport Speedway in New Jersey when his car flipped on the front stretch He was airlifted to the Crozer-Chester Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead just over half an hour later.
"NASCAR extends its thoughts, prayers and deepest sympathies to the family of Jason Leffler who passed away earlier this evening," said a NASCAR statement. "For more than a decade, Jason was a fierce competitor in our sport and he will be missed."
Leffler began his career racing midget cars in the USAC series, where he won 3 consecutive midget championships from 1997 and 1999, as well as the Silver Crown series championship in 1998. He was the third driver to win three consecutive midget car championships. He went on to compete across all three of NASCAR's top tiers, although he found his greatest success in the Nationwide Series, where he claimed two wins and 107 top 10 finishes between 1999 and 2012. He took one Sprint Cup pole with Chip Ganassi Racing at Kansas in his debut season in 2001, and had moved back into the category this season with Humphrey Smith Racing.
Leffler also raced stayed active in open-wheelers and made three IndyCar starts, including an appearance at the 2000 Indy 500 in a Roger Penske-backed Treadway Racing entry.
"We are very saddened at the passing of Jason Leffler," said Indianapolis Motor Speedway COO Doug Boles. "He was one of the most versatile race drivers in America, showing his talent by competing in the Indianapolis 500 and the Brickyard 400 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway during his career.
"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. Jason was a terrific guy who always had time for everyone. Our deepest sympathies are extended to his entire family, team and fans."
Leffler, who was nicknamed 'lefTurn', is survived by his five-year-old son, Charlie.
“I'm completely devastated to hear about Jason Leffler. It doesn't seem real. Pray for his family tonight,” NASCAR Nationwide Series driver Trevor Bayne posted on Twitter.
“Sitting here in disbelief,” veteran NASCAR driver Elliott Sadler tweeted. “All I can think about is Charlie (Leffler's 5-year-old son). Prayers to his little boy.”