NASCAR driver and former open-wheel champion Jason Leffler died
Wednesday night at a New Jersey hospital after he was involved in a racing accident at New Jersey's Bridgeport Speedway, NJ.com reported.
Leffler, 37, was driving in a 410 sprint car race at the racetrack
when he slammed into a wall about 8:30 p.m. He had to be extricated from the vehicle. New Jersey State Police told USA Today that Leffer was taken by emergency personnel to Crozer-Chester Medical Center and pronounced dead.
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"We are very saddened at the passing of Jason Leffler," Indianapolis Motor Speedway chief operating officer Doug Boles said in a statement obtained by USA Today. Leffler raced in the Indianapolis 500 in 2000 and the Brickyard 400 five times.
"He was one of the most versatile race drivers in America, showing his talent by competing in the Indianapolis 500 and the Brickyard 400. Jason was a terrific guy who always had time for everyone. Our deepest sympathies are extended to his entire family, team and fans," Boles said.
Leffler, nicknamed "LefTurn," was a two-time winner on the NASCAR
Nationwide Series, according to Fox News. He made his NASCAR debut in 1999 and had 423 starts in NASCAR's three national series.
He won three USAC Midget championships from 1997-99, following the path of former USAC star Tony Stewart. He would later sign with Joe Gibbs Racing for the Nationwide Series in 2000, according to USA Today.
"NASCAR extends its thoughts, prayers and deepest sympathies to the family of Jason Leffler who passed away earlier this evening," NASCAR said in a statement, released by Fox News. "For more than a decade, Jason was a fierce competitor in our sport and he will be missed."
Fellow drivers took to Twitter to remember the Long Beach, Calif. racer, according to the Associated Press. (http://bigstory.ap.org/article/tweets-following-driver-jason-lefflers-death)
"Thoughts and prayers to the family and friends of Jason Leffler. A good man; a good racer. Godspeed friend," tweeted Stewart-Haas Racing, the NASCAR team co-owned by Sprint Cup driver Tony Stewart.
"Deeply saddened by the passing of Jason Leffler tonight. Please keep his family in your thoughts and prayers. #LEFturn" tweeted NASCAR Sprint Cup driver Kyle Busch.
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