NASCAR regular Jason Leffler was killed in a sprint car crash at the 5/8 mile Bridgeport Speedway in Swedesboro, N.J., Wednesday night. Leffler was extricated from his vehicle immediately following the incident and transported to Cooper Trauma Center, where he died from his injuries.
A regular in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, Leffler raced full-time from 2005 to 2011 and made several Sprint Cup starts, including last weekend at Pocono, where he finished 43rd, after a transmission issue ended his day early. All told, he made 56 starts in the Camping World Truck series and over 250 starts in the Nationwide series, where he accumulated five top-10 points finishes. His legacy will be his dirt track career, which includes four USAC midget titles, three of which came consecutively from 1997-1999, making him one of only three drivers to win three titles in a row. He had recently decided to return to his dirt track racing roots.
He leaves behind a young son, Charlie.
Leffler is the second NASCAR death in the last month, following Dick Trickle’s suicide on May 16. It is a shocking reminder that, despite the countless safety innovations that have transformed the racing world, it is still an inherently dangerous sport, one that can wreak devastating consequences in the blink of an eye. Sprint cars, small machines that feature a giant wing on top of the car for aerodynamic assistance, are no exception, and often become airborne in crashes.
He will be missed.