Jason Leffler Killed in sprint car race

Jason Leffler dies after sprint car race accident


Jason "Lefturn" Leffler 1975-2013

  • Kahne and Stewart to honor Leffler at Chili Bowl: Kasey Kahne and Tony Stewart are entering next month's Chili Bowl Nationals in honor of late racer Jason Leffler. Kahne will drive a car entered in combination with Stewart, Leffler's girlfriend, Julianna Patterson, and former father-in-law, Bob East., in the Jan. 14-18 race at the Tulsa Expo Center in Oklahoma. Plans had been for Leffler and Patterson to co-own the car, and Leffler and East to build it together before Leffler's death in a June sprint car crash. East continued the project following the accident, and Patterson turned to Stewart for help after the three-time NASCAR champion broke his leg in his own sprint car accident last season. "She told me, 'I'm going to be a car owner at the Chili Bowl' and I said, 'OK?' kind of quizzically, and it's just gone on from there," Stewart told The Associated Press. "Bob is building the car. The owner was going to be Jason and Julianna, and I really wanted to be involved." So did Kahne, who was close friends with the 37-year-old Leffler, a journeyman NASCAR driver who loved racing so much he entered everything he could. The night he was killed in a sprint car race in New Jersey, the winner was guaranteed just $7,000. Kahne had to first convince his NASCAR team owner, Rick Hendrick, to sign off on his participation in the Chili Bowl. Hendrick hasn't forbidden Kahne from any extracurricular racing, but hasn't exactly rubber-stamped Kahne's opportunities, either. Kahne felt racing in honor of Leffler at the Chili Bowl, with the promise of raffling off the car after for the Charlie Dean Leffler Discretionary Trust to benefit Leffler's son, would get him the permission from Hendrick. The Chili Bowl is one of the most prestigious midget events of the year and has a star-studded lineup. The entry list is nearing 250 already and includes Sammy and Kevin Swindell, Joey Saldana, Bryan Clauson, and NASCAR drivers Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Kyle Larson.(full story at the Associated Press)(12-19-2013)

  • Leffler Education Fund Continues To Grow: With a $5,000 donation from Delco Designs LLC., a New Bedford, Pa., company, more than $62,000 has been raised for the Charlie Dean Leffler Educational Fund Grant, which includes the USAC Benevolent Foundations guaranteed matching amount of $25,000.
    The Charlie Dean Leffler Educational Fund Grant was established and is being administered by the USAC Benevolent Foundation to assist with future, post-secondary education costs for Charlie Dean Leffler, son of former USAC champion and NASCAR race car driver Jason Leffler. The elder Leffler was killed in a racing accident in June 2013 in New Jersey.
    Last week, we received a check from Britany Kuhn Loss and Jason Loss of New Bedford, Penn., who are the owners of Delco Designs LLC, said Bill Marvel, executive director of the USAC Benevolent Foundation. Their donation pushed the total raised to more than $37,000. With the Foundations commitment to match money raised up to $25,000, the Charlie Dean Leffler Educational Fund Grant now has more than $62,000 in its account.
    Marvel said the fund continues to grow with donations coming in from race fans, race tracks, racing officials, sanctioning bodies and money raised by the selling of the Leffler Memorial decals, created by Delco Desgins. He said Delco Designs has pledged to match its $5,000 donation in 2014 and again in 2015, a total commitment of $15,000.
    Donations can still be made to the Charlie Dean Leffler Educational Fund Grant. Checks can be sent to Bill Marvel, Ex. Director, USAC Benevolent Foundation, 4910 W. 16th Street, Speedway, IN 46224. Please make the check payable to the USAC Benevolent Foundation, but write Leffler Education Fund in the memo line.(NSSN)(9-27-2013)

  • Jason Leffler Memorial race on Wednesday (Aug 28th): Wayne County Speedway is announced the Jason Leffler Memorial race sponsored by Great Clips on Wednesday August 28th at 7:00pm/et. The event is a $5000 to win Midget race sanctioned by POWRI in which 100% of the front entrance and 50% of the back entrance will go to the Charlie Dean Leffler Discretionary Fund (c/o SunTrust Bank, 232 Williamson Road, Mooresville, NC 28117). Track owner Doug Stringer, a Mcleansboro, Ill. resident and former owner of Akins Motorsports, decided to run this event after the tragic passing of his long-time friend. Leffler left behind a son, Charlie Dean. Stringers company, Stringer Holdings, manages the NASCAR and World of Outlaws race sponsorships for Great Clips. Leffler represented the worlds largest salon brand in the NASCAR Nationwide Series from 2006-2011. As a tribute to him, Great Clips is proudly serving as title sponsor of the Jason Leffler Memorial race. The company will also sponsor Shane Hmiel Racing for the event, which will field two drivers including Darren Hagan and Justin Grant.(Wayne County Speedway)(8-27-2013)

  • Jason Leffler Charity Auction: The NASCAR community was left stunned by the news that driver Jason Leffler tragically lost his life in an accident during a sprint-car race in New Jersey. Leffler, 37, died on June 12 in a crash at Bridgeport Speedway, a five-eighths mile high-banked dirt track in Swedesboro, N.J. A native of Long Beach, Calif., Leffler has been a fixture at NASCAR's national level since 1999. The two-time winner on the NASCAR Nationwide Series leaves behind a young son, Charlie. Make bids and more info at stores.ebay.com/auctioncausestore.(7-5-2013)

  • A Tribute Die-Cast to Benefit the Charlie Dean Trust Fund: When tragedy strikes, NASCAR unites and for a brief moment nothing else matters except for an unbreakable bond in the community. It doesn't matter what team you are on, what manufacturer you drive for or who finishes first at the track  what does matter is the moment that everyone gathers together to remember a great race car driver, wonderful friend and an amazing father.
    On June 16 at Michigan International Speedway, the NASCAR community did just that, and in a special tribute to former NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Jason Leffler, Joe Gibbs Racing and Denny Hamlin ran a replica paint scheme of Leffler's 2005 #11 FedEx car.
    Hamlin didn't win the race that Sunday afternoon, but the NASCAR community will forever remember the car Hamlin drove on Father's day, in honor of Leffler's life at the track. After all, Leffler debuted the FedEx sponsorship for Joe Gibbs Racing in 2005. After a last minute re-wrap of the #11 FedEx Toyota Camry took place late Saturday night, the car rolled out on track ready for Sunday's Quicken Loans 400 and the NASCAR community stood together as one.
    Now Lionel Racing joins forces with Joe Gibbs Racing in honoring Leffler's life with the die-cast of the #11 FedEx LefTurn Tribute Toyota Camry that Hamlin drove in honor of Leffler  100% of the profit from the purchase of each die-cast will be donated to the Charlie Dean Trust Fund to benefit Leffler's son Charlie.(Lionel Racing Pit Box)(6-28-2013)

  • Police rule mechanical problem as cause of Leffler's accident: New Jersey state police said Friday that a mechanical problem was to blame for the dirt-track racing crash that killed NASCAR driver Jason Leffler. The state police released some findings from a not-yet-complete report on the June 12 crash at Bridgeport Speedway in Logan Township. The report finds that a torsion stop came off, causing part of the sprint car's suspension system to become lodged between a wheel and the steering system. As a result, the report found, Leffler was unable to control the car's steering as he came out of the fourth turn and spun out, slamming into the concrete wall along the side of the track. The report does not say how fast Leffler was going, but says cars in the race were averaging 135 mph and hitting 150 mph on straightaways. Blunt-force neck injuries were cited as his cause of death.(Associated Press)(6-22-2013)

  • Headrest may have helped Leffler: Jason Leffler would have had a better chance of surviving his fatal crash in a winged sprint car in New Jersey if he'd had a full containment headrest similar to what is used in NASCAR, multiple safety experts told ESPN.com. Racing safety pioneer Bill Simpson and Randy LaJoie, a two-time Nationwide Series champion who now designs and builds race car seats, have studied the wreck. They agree that a 180-degree surround headrest might have saved Leffler's life at the 0.625-mile dirt track. Medical examiner Dr. Fredric Hellman, who performed the autopsy, said the death resulted from a blunt-force neck injury caused by a head-whip-type motion. New Jersey State Police have not released results of their investigation, although Simpson and others who have looked into the wreck have been told by those at the track that a failed part on the front end likely caused the car to angle into the wall at a high speed. LaJoie, who once served on the New Jersey safety board, has been in contact with investigators regarding the accident. Simpson has talked to mechanics and other eyewitnesses who were at the track. Both were told that Leffler, who was wearing a head and neck restraint designed to protect on frontal impacts, did not have a headrest sufficient enough to keep his head in line with the rest of his body on a lateral impact. "He wasn't contained," [LaJoie] said. "That's why we haven't killed anyone in NASCAR, because we learned not to let the body and head move. Your head, chest and pelvis need to stay in line as close as possible."(ESPN)(6-21-2013)

  • Leffler's funeral held Wednesday afternoon: They came to honor Jason Leffler, but they left with instructions to do more. "We have something that all we have a part in, every single one of you,'' Jeff Dickerson said at a service Wednesday afternoon celebrating his friend's life. "We all have a responsibility in making sure that his son knows exactly who he was and how much he loved his son. From his grandparents to those who maybe met him in passing, we must make sure he is not forgotten. When we see Charlie and that same little playful grin that his dad had, we must let him know at every chance we get to tell him that he hung the moon with his dad. That Jason savored every minute he spent with his son. We must let him know about Jason as a driver, a man and a father. That's what Jason would want from us. It's up to all of us to make that happen.'' Dickerson spoke to hundreds of mourners, including about a dozen NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers, at Grace Covenant Church. Among those who attended were Tony Stewart, Greg Biffle, Denny Hamlin and Kasey Kahne. President Mike Helton led a NASCAR contingent. Leffler raced in NASCAR's top three series from 1999 to this season. Leffler's passion for racing and his son were the themes of the nearly hour-long service that featured laughter, applause and tears.(Motor Racing Network)(6-19-2013)

  • Memorial service, trust fund set up: In honor of NASCAR driver Jason Leffler, who lost his life in a racing accident this week, a trust fund has been established for his five-year-old son, Charlie Dean. This trust will serve as the official Leffler Family fund, with all monies going directly to Charlie's needs. Turner Scott Motorsports co-owner Harry Scott Jr., former Braun Racing owner Todd Braun and Steve Overholser, CFO of Great Clips, will serve as trustees.
    Donations can be made to The Charlie Dean Leffler Discretionary Trust at:
    The Charlie Dean Leffler Discretionary Trust
    c/o SunTrust Bank
    232 Williamson Road
    Mooresville, NC 28117 A celebration of Jason Leffler's life will be held on Wednesday, June 19. The service will be at Grace Covenant Church, located at 17301 Statesville Road in Cornelius, N.C. at 1:00pm/et. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to The Charlie Dean Leffler Discretionary Trust.(Charlotte Observer)

  • LEFturn Hats: In honor of NASCAR driver Jason Leffler, who lost his life in a racing accident last week, a trust fund has been established for his five-year-old son, Charlie Dean. This trust will serve as the official Leffler Family fund, with all monies going directly to Charlie's needs. Turner Scott Motorsports co-owner Harry Scott Jr., former Braun Racing owner Todd Braun and Steve Overholser, CFO of Great Clips, will serve as trustees. Kasey Kahne Racing is selling LEFturn hats in honor of Jason with proceeds going to the The Charlie Dean Leffler Discretionary Trust c/o SunTrust Bank. More info and to order the hats at www.kaseykahne.com.(6-18-2013)

  • Associated Press:
    Leffler planned for young son in case of death by Jenna Fryer

  • Paint Scheme change on the #11 at MIS to honor Leffler: Joe Gibbs Racing has changed the paint scheme of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota for the Quicken Loans 400 Sprint Cup Series race at Michigan International Speedway on Sunday. Denny Hamlin will run the original FedEx paint scheme from the 2005 season as they pay tribute to the late Jason Leffler who ran the car for 19 races that season (Denny Hamlin Facebook), see images of the scheme on the #11 Team Schemes page.(6-16-2013)

  • USAC establishes Jason Leffler Benevolent Fund: The USAC Benevolent Foundation has today announced a $10,000 grant in the memory of the late USAC racing champion Jason Leffler, who lost his life Wednesday night in a racing accident in New Jersey. The 501-3C-designated Foundation will also be accepting additional donations earmarked for usage by Jason's son Charlie Dean and Charlie's mother Allison. A designated cap amount to be announced by the Board of Directors of the Foundation will also result in additional dollar-for-dollar matching funds for this purpose. More info at usacracing.com.(6-14-2013)

  • "LEFturn" stickers on all NNS & Cup cars at MIS: The death of Jason Leffler was on the minds of several Sprint Cup drivers when they arrived at Michigan International Speedway on Friday. Leffler, who made 73 Sprint Cup starts, was killed Wednesday after a violent crash during a sprint car race at Bridgeport Speedway, a dirt track in Swedesboro, N.J. He was 37. An autopsy found he died of blunt force neck trauma after he hit a wall. Tony Stewart, who roomed with Leffler years ago, remembered a friend. "I've known him a long time and we grew up racing together," he said. "I knew him as a roommate and teammate. I know he loved nothing more than being behind the wheel of a race car. His son, Charlie, that's the one we're thinking about the most right now." A Long Beach, Calif., native, Leffler completed just eight laps in his final Sprint Cup start last weekend at Pocono. He also won a pair of Nationwide Series races and once in the Camping World Truck Series. He was reportedly wearing a head and neck safety device on Wednesday. "I was shocked to hear what happened," Stewart added. "It's just a reminder of how dangerous our sport is but we've had a lot of safety innovations and it's proof that they'll never get to the stage where anybody is totally immune from getting hurt in a race car." Defending Sprint Cup champion Brad Keselowski paid tribute to Leffler, whom he often raced against in the Nationwide Series, by adding the late driver's Twitter handle to the rear of his #2 Ford. A decal reading "LEFturn" will be affixed to both NASCAR Sprint Cup and Nationwide cars this weekend at Michigan.(NASCAR Wire Service)(6-15-2013)

  • MIS Plans: A Michigan International Speedway spokesman said today that the track will hold a moment of silence for Jason Leffler prior to the two NASCAR races this weekend at the Michigan superspeedway.(Toledo Blade)(6-14-2013)(6-14-2013)

  • Invesigation of Leffler's wreck New Jersey State Police on Thursday were trying to determine what caused the dirt track crash that killed NASCAR driver Jason Leffler on Wednesday night. Leffler died after the crash during the first heat at southern New Jersey's Bridgeport Speedway, a dirt track about 20 miles southwest of Philadelphia. The Gloucester County medical examiner said they haven't begun to examine Leffler's body but will do so on Friday, according to ESPN.com's David Newton. "Despite his many accomplishments, Jason still followed in the same footsteps of his heroes that would race anything, anytime. All Jason wanted to do was race. He was the life of every party and a true racer," Leffler's representative, Spire Sports, said in a statement. "We will miss Jason dearly and know that his family appreciates all the thoughts and prayers." Spire said funeral arrangements were being made.(ESPN)(6-14-2013)

  • The NASCAR flag outside the NASCAR Hall of Fame will be flown at half-staff in observance of Jason Leffler.(6-14-2013)

  • Leffler's cause of death: Jason Leffler died from a blunt force neck injury, an autopsy revealed Thursday. The Delaware County (Pa.) Medical Examiner ruled Leffler's cause of death was the neck injury he sustained when his car impacted the wall at Bridgeport Speedway in New Jersey during a Wednesday night sprint car race.(USA Today)(6-13-2013)

  • Statement from NASCAR on the passing of Jason Leffler: "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)(6-13-2013)

  • Jason Leffler killed in sprint car race wreck: NASCAR driver Jason Leffler died after an accident Wednesday night in a heat race at a dirt car event at Bridgeport Speedway. The 37-year-old Leffler, a two-time winner on the NASCAR Nationwide Series who had the nickname "LefTurn" above the driver's side window on his race cars, was pronounced dead shortly after 9:00pm/et, New Jersey State Police said. After losing his NASCAR ride, Leffler had been racing dirt car events most of this year, including the 410 Sprint Car race Wednesday that promised a $7,000 prize to the winner at the 0.625-mile, high-banked dirt oval. On Sunday, Leffler finished last at Pocono in his lone NASCAR Sprint Cup start of the year.(see much more at the Associated Press)
    MORE: Jason Leffler died in a crash Wednesday night during a 410 sprint car event at Bridgeport (N.J.) Speedway. He was 37. Sgt. Adam Grossman, public information officer for the New Jersey State Police, confirmed to Motor Racing Network that a 37-year-old driver was pronounced dead at Crozer-Chester Medical Center. Sgt. Grossman would not confirm the name until next of kin had been notified. NBC10 in Philadelphia first reported that Leffler had been killed in the accident. Bridgeport Speedway confirmed in a tweet that the evening's racing program had been canceled after a crash involving Leffler. Sgt. Grossman said the accident happened about 8:30 pm. He stated that the driver was extricated from the car and transported by ambulance to Crozer-Chester Medical Center. The accident remains under investigation.
    Leffler competed in 73 NASCAR Sprint Cup races since 2001. He finished 43rd at Pocono last weekend in his only start this season. He also ran 294 Nationwide races, winning two. He won at Nashville in 2004 and what is now O'Reilly Raceway Park in 2007. He competed in 56 Camping World Truck Series races from 2000-12, winning at Dover in 2003. Leffler was a member of the National Midget Hall of Fame in 2003. He won four USAC championships, winning three consecutive USAC midget titles (1997-99). He also won the USAC Silver Crown championship in 1998. After running four Nationwide races in 1999, he ran the full season in 2000 for Joe Gibbs Racing. Leffler moved to the Sprint Cup Series in 2001, driving for car owner Chip Ganassi with a best finish of 10th at Homestead. It would be the only top-10 in his Cup career. He did not drive a full season in Cup again. He ran 19 in 2005 for JGR before being replaced in the ride that would go to Denny Hamlin. Leffler had better success in the Nationwide Series with 107 top-10 finishes. He finished a career-best third in the points in 2007 for Braun Racing. Leffler finished behind champion Carl Edwards and runner-up David Reutimann that season. Leffler leaves behind a son Charlie Dean Leffler.(Motor Racing Network)(6-12-2013)

  • ARTICLE / BLOG links to posts about Jason Leffler

  • Associated Press:
    Leffler's death puts spotlight on short tracks by Noah Trister;
    Leffler dies after accident in dirt car event

  • Athlon Sports:
    NASCAR heads to Michigan, mourns loss of Jason Leffler by Geoffrey Miller

  • AutoWeek:
    Jason Leffler was a racing success story, regardless of his NASCAR record by Steven Cole Smith;
    NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Brad Keselowski still in shock over death of Jason Leffler by Mike Pryson;
    Racing community mourns Jason Leffler by Mike Larson

  • Auto Racing Daily:
    Jason Leffler: gone but not forgotten by Amanda Vincent

  • Building Speed:
    Sprint Car Safety by Diandra Leslie-Pelecky

  • Bump Drafts:
    Jason Leffler: 130 Pounds of Passion Wrapped In Skin by Jim McCoy

  • Charlotte Observer:
    SAFER developer: Barriers may not have helped Jason Leffler and
    NASCAR driver Jason Leffler killed in N.J. dirt-track crash by Jim Utter

  • Detroit Free Press:
    Ricky Stenhouse Jr. salutes late Jason Leffler's courage by Mike Brudenell

  • Detroit News:
    Crash that killed Jason Leffler reminds NASCAR drivers of the sport's dangers by David Goricki

  • Drafting the Circuits:
    Tragedy in Racing: The Legacy Left Behind by Frank Santoroski;
    Jason Leffler 1975 - 2013 by Ro Cowan

  • ESPN.com:
    Fellow drivers mourn Jason Leffler;
    Loss of Jason Leffler a reality check and
    Tony Stewart says Eldora is safe and;
    NASCAR drivers pay tribute to Leffler by David Newton

  • Fayetteville Observer:
    Another tough blow for racing by Thomas Pope

  • FoxSports:
    Leffler death stirs a father's emotions by Sam Gardner;
    Frankie Kerr recalls Leffler, sprint car risks by Lee Spencer;
    Sports world reacts to Leffler's death

  • Frontstretch:
    The Loss Of Leffler: A Sobering Reminder Racing Is A Dangerous Sport by Mike Neff;
    It Comes At a Price: The Real Cost of Racing by Amy Henderson;
    Nuts for Nationwide: Jason Leffler Not Nationwide Also-Ran by Kevin Rutherford

  • Godfather Motorsports:
    How Do We Move On? and
    Remembering Jason Leffler by Dave Moody

  • Indianapolis Motor Speedway:
    IMS Statement On Passing Of Jason Leffler

  • Joe Gibbs Racing Facebook:
    Tribute to Jason Leffler - images

  • Los Angeles Daily News:
    NASCAR driver Jason Leffler dies in crash by Louis Brewster

  • Los Angeles Times:
    Death of racer Jason Leffler shakes his mentor Parnelli Jones by Jim Peltz;
    NASCAR driver Jason Leffler dies after sprint car accident by Dan Loumena

  • Lastcar:
    The Difference Of Three Days: A Tribute To Jason Leffler (1975-2013) by Brock Beard

  • Monday Morning Crew Chief:
    The shock of death by Jacob Mayer

  • MonteDutton.com:
    Testing Fate Is What They Do

  • Motor Racing Network:
    Sprint Car Crash Claims Leffler by Dustin Long;
    Drivers React to Leffler's Death by Pete Pistone;
    Racing Community Remembers Leffler

  • NASCAR.com:
    Leffler killed in sprint-car race accident by David Caraviello

  • NASCAR Wire Service:
    Remembering Jason Leffler by Reid Spencer

  • National Speed Sport News:
    Bridgeport Crash Claims Jason Leffler

  • Pit Talks:
    Crew members react to the passing of Jason Leffler

  • Porter Report:
    Jason Leffler; dead after dirt track crash by Daniel Porter

  • Race Journal Online:
    Charlie's Dad, Jason Leffler by Carol Einarsson

  • Skirts and Scuffs:
    Jason Leffler: Between one breath and the the next by Lisa Janine Cloud

  • SPEED:
    Winged Sprint-Car Wreck Claims Jason Leffler by Robin Miller

  • Sporting News:
    NASCAR drivers concerned about short-track safety after Jason Leffler's death and
    Jason Leffler's death: painful reminder of racing's ultimate hazard and
    Jason Leffler's death: Cohorts remember big-time competitor and
    Jason Leffler dies from injuries suffered in accident at New Jersey race track by Bob Pockrass

  • Sports Illustrated:
    Michigan Preview: Jason Leffler's death casts shadow by Lars Anderson

  • TennesseeRacer:
    Jason Leffler Tragedy Likely to Bring Greater Scrutiny to Dirt Tracks by Richard Allen

  • Toronto Star Wheels:
    Jason Leffler, 37: A racer's racer by Norris McDonald

  • Up Top The Pit Box:
    With Death comes Perspective: In Memory of Jason Leffler by Kristen Schneider

  • USA Today:
    Jeff Burton: Leffler's death provides safety lessons and
    Dave Blaney thinks part failure caused Jason Leffler crash and
    Tony Stewart on Jason Leffler: 'great racer, better friend' and
    NASCAR's Jason Leffler dead after dirt track crash by Nate Ryan;
    Jason Leffler's death won't change driver culture by Jeff Gluck

  • Washingtom Post:
    NASCAR driver Jason Leffler killed in race by Cindy Boren

  • Yahoo Sports:
    Jason Leffler's tragic death leaves a hole in the heart of the entire auto racing community by Matt Myftiu;
    Jason Leffler dies from injuries suffered at Bridgeport Speedway race by Jay Busbee

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