Leffler was running in second place in a 25-lap heat at the 5/8 mile dirt track when he smacked the wall in his 410 Sprint Car and began flipping down the front straightaway of the track. He was then extracted from the car and airlifted to Crozer– Chester Medical Center where he was pronounced dead around 9pm.
The 36 year old California native was a two-time winner in the NASCAR Nationwide Series and has competed in 73 Sprint Cup races over his career. His best finish in the cup series was at Homestead Miami Speedway where he finished 10th. He also had one Craftsman Truck Series victory at Dover International Raceway.
NASCAR released a statement confirming leffler’s death 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.”
Leffler got his start in open wheel racing, winning the Hut Hundred and Belleville Nationals in 1997. After winning three consecutive champions from 1997 to 1999, including winning the Silver Crown Series Championship in 1998, he caught the attention of owner Joe Gibbs who signed him to race in the Busch Series for four races in 1999. He then raced full time in the Busch series in 2000 and finished 20th in the standings with three poles.
In 2001 he began racing for Chip Gannasi Racing in the Sprint Cup Series, even winning the pole for the inaugural Kansas race. Despite the pole and one top 10, Gannasi released Leffler in mid-2001 due to four failures to qualify and a 37th place finish in the Coca Cola 600.
in 2002 Leffler signed with Ultra Motorsports and raced in the Craftsman Truck Series. He finished the season fourth in points with six 2nd place finishes. Leffler then got his first NASCAR win at Dover International Raceway in 2003. Unfortunately the win and a top-10 finish in the point standings wasn’t enough as Leffler was let go by Ultra Motorsports for driving for Haas-CNC Racing in a Pontiac; a violation of his contract at the time.
He then raced for Haas-CNC for ten races before being moved to the Busch series for the remainder of the 2003 and then 2004 season. In 2004 Leffler won his first Busch Series Race at Nashville Speedway. Despite the win, Haas-CNC released Leffler seven races before the season was over.
His most notable accomplishment in NASCAR came in 2007 when he passed Greg Biffle in the closing laps of the Kroger 200 at O’Reilly Speedway to capture not only his second win of his career, but also the first win for Toyota in the Busch Series. The win was also the first time a foreign manufacturer won in NASCAR’s top series since 1954 when Al Keller won in a Jaguar.
After being shuffled between rides from 2008-2012, Leffler returned to the Sprint Cup Series driving for Robinson-Blakeney Racing at Watkins Glen and then later for Humphrey-Smith Racing at Michigan. In 2013 Leffler made one start in the Sprint Cup Series for Humphrey-Smith Racing at Pocono finishing 43rd.
Leffler was also a three-time USAC National Midget Champion, and was even inducted into the USAC National Midget Auto Racing Hall of Fame in 2003. Leffler also raced in the 2000 Indianapolis 500 where he finished 17th.
Jason Leffler known by his nickname “LEFturn” is survived by his five year old son, Charlie Dean.