Leffler dies after accident in dirt car event

Leffler dies after accident in dirt car event (Image 1)

BRIDGEPORT, N.J. (AP) – 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, was pronounced dead shortly after 9 p.m., New
Jersey State Police said.

“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. “For more than a decade, Jason was
a fierce competitor in our sport and he will be missed.”

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.

From Long Beach, Calif., Leffler made 423 starts in
NASCAR's three national series, but won just the two Nationwide races
and one Truck Series event in a career that began in 1999. He also made
three IndyCar Series starts, finishing 17th in the 2000 Indianapolis

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

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.

Leffler is survived by 5-year-old son Charlie Dean.

Copyright 2013 The
Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be
published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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