Jason Leffler was remembered by fellow NASCAR drivers on Wednesday night after the news broke that the 37-year-old died in a sprint-car race accident.
Leffler was rushed to the hospital by helicopter on Wednesday night, but was pronounced dead from his injuries at 9:02 pm local time. The NASCAR community mourned his loss, with the organization releasing 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.”
Indianapolis Motor Speedway, where Jason Leffler raced both in NASCAR and in the IndyCar series, also gave their condolences to the driver’s family, including his young son who graduated from kindergarten last month.
While the racing business carries a higher risk of injury or death, the risk didn’t soften the blow to drivers like Kasey Kahne and Trevor Bayne, who turned to Twitter to mourn Leffler’s death. Kahne posted several tweets about his friend and fellow driver, saying:
“Very sad night. What a great guy we lost tonight. Rest in Peace Jason … Jason & I flew together this past weekend to Pocono. We talked sprint cars, cup cars and Charlie Dean. He loved racing & he loved his son!”
The Hendrick Motorsports driver later added, “Can’t stop thinking about @JasonLeffler #memories #lefturn.”
While Jason Leffler never did well in NASCAR’s premier Sprint Cup Series, he made 423 starts in the Nationwide and Truck Series races beginning in 1999. During that time, he won two Nationwide races and one truck race.
Fellow drivers Joey Logano and Trevor Bayne added of Jason Leffler’s death:
I’m completely devastated to hear a bout Jason Leffler. It doesn’t seem real. Pray for his family tonight
— Trevor Bayne (@Tbayne21) June 13, 2013
Leffler’s friends and fellow racers used the hashtag “#LEFturn,” one of the NASCAR driver’s nicknames. While police have confirmed the death of Jason Leffler, his family has not yet released a statement. One spectator at Bridgeport Speedway in New Jersey tweeted a photo of the driver’s mangled sprint car.
— NewsBreaker (@NewsBreaker) June 13, 2013