NASCAR driver Jason Leffler died on Wednesday after crashing during a 410 sprint car race at the Bridgeport Speedway’s dirt track.
Leffler, 37, hit the wall on the front straightaway of the dirt track, flipping his car several times. He leaves behind a five-year-old son, Charlie Dean.
Leffler’s small, open-wheel vehicle was so badly damaged that Leffler had to be extricated from the wreck.
Jason was airlifted to Cooper Trauma Center where he later died from his injuries.
NASCAR issued a statement saying, “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.”
NASCAR driver Jason Leffler leaves behind a five-year-old son Charlie Dean, who meant the world to him.
Photographs on Instagram and on the two-time NASCAR Nationwide Series winner’s website show the proud little boy watching his father from the sidelines.
Tributes poured in for Leffler, who made 423 starts in NASCAR’s three national series, winning twice on the Nationwide Series and once on the Truck Series.
Many of his fellow track stars praised his talents while others noted the risk drivers like Leffler take every time they strap themselves in.
Tony Kanaan tweeted, “#LEFturn was a racer. A champion. Jason we race this weekend in your honor.”
Kyle Busch wrote, “Deeply saddened by the passing of @JasonLeffler tonight. Please keep his family in your thoughts and prayers. #LEFturn.”
Leffler had separated from Charlie Dean’s mother, Alison East, and was dating Julianna Patterson.
The couple lived together in Huntersville, North Carolina with little Charlie Dean.
Leffler’s last full NASCAR season was 2011, when he ran the entire Nationwide schedule for Turner Motorsports. He finished sixth in the standings that season and hadn’t had a steady NASCAR ride since.
Although he never made it at the Sprint Cup Series level, Leffler ran almost the entire 2001 season for Chip Ganassi Racing and ran 19 races in 2005 for Joe Gibbs Racing in the car now driven by Denny Hamlin.
Our condolences to his son, girlfriend, and family.
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