Husband, Father, Professional Race Car Driver
Last night around 8:30pm eastern, Twitter users began sharing posts about a terrible crash that occurred in a 410 sprint car race at Bridgeport Speedway in New Jersey. The speedway is a 0.625 mile oval dirt track with high banks. During the first heat race of the night, the 2nd placed car hit the wall and flipped several times on the front straightaway. The driver had to be cut from the car and was rushed to the local nearby hospital. That driver was Jason Leffler, one of Nascar’s favorite sons.
Between 8:30 and about 9:15pm tweeters were sending out their prayers that he was ok and wishing his family strength to help him recover. Those with racing timelines, saw an instant flood of get well messages and hopeful tweets. A sign that this wasn’t an ordinary guy. But rather one that was well liked, well thought of and even loved by team mates and those he worked with alike. Not to mention the flood of fans who were rallying to his side, even if it was merely from cyberspace.
My first indication something had happened was from our current Nascar Champion
Thinking about Jason Leffler.Hope the stories I’m hearing about his wreck tonight aren’t as bad as they sound.
— Brad Keselowski (@keselowski) June 13, 2013
Which was quickly followed by:
Those sentiments were echoed by the likes of Kyle Petty, Reed Sorenson, Joey Logano , Trent Owens, Queers4Gears, Ryan Newman, Bob Pockrass, Marty Smith, Ray Evernham, Matthew Dillner, Mandy Paysor, Mike Joy, Tim Cindric, Brett Jewkes and many more. Not to mention the every day racing fan.
Within that rush of well wishes was the announcement from the speedway:
Racing has been postponed at Bridgeport Speedway due to an accident in a 410 Sprint Car heat race that involved Jason Leffler.
— Bridgeport Speedway (@bridgeportspeed) June 13, 2013
A few short minutes later, the news broke and it didn’t take long for everyone to know that Jason succumbed to his injuries and was pronounced dead. The well wishes quickly changed to deep and overwhelming sadness as racing personalities, drivers, teams, and fans flooded twitter space with thoughts and prayers.
The first on my timeline to share the sorrow came from two guys who have been through their own racing hardships:
Sitting here in disbelief.. All I can think about is Charlie.. Prayers to the Lefler family…
— Elliott Sadler (@Elliott_Sadler) June 13, 2013
Elliott summed it up as everyone turned their thoughts to little Charlie and the Leffler family. Again Twitter was overwhelmed with sadness from the death of another race car driver taken way too soon. Messages for thoughts and prayers to his family and friends flew past on twitter feeds as Dusty Wiegert, TheOrangeCone, Nascarcasm, JJ Yeley, Kelley Carlton, Tony Kanaan, Eddie Pardu, Juan Pablo Montoya, Billy Venturini, Ryan Blaney, World of Outlaws, Johanna Long, Kurt Busch, Rutledge Wood, Bob Jeffrey, Jeff Gluck, Red Horse Racing, Tony Stewart Racing, Stewart-Haas Racing, Trevor Bayne, Brandon McReynolds, Nascar, Jeff Burton, Clint Bowyer, Kyle Busch, Parker Kligerman, USAC Racing, Aric Almirola and so many more, all shared their condolences. Most with the hashtag #LEFturn, Jason’s affectionate nickname and some who only shared that hashtag because nothing else could be said.
As the evening progressed, another one of my favorite tweeters posted a comment that sums up how many of us feel about our favorite drivers and sport:
Dear families of racecar drivers: thank you. Thank you for sharing your fathers/sons/daughters with us.
— Orange Cone (@TheOrangeCone) June 13, 2013
It was indeed a sad night that has turned into a sad day. And with the daylight hours the news stories, personal blogs and conversations turn to a reflection of past deeds and memories of a man who was indeed well thought of. A beautiful eulogy that proves to all that Jason Leffler was an extremely wealthy man as evidence by the love shown by his family, thousands of friends and multitude of fans. He leaves behind his son Charlie, his former wife Allison and current girlfriend Julianna.
May the GreatSpirits bless his journey, provide strength to his family and friends to endure this day and the coming months/years without him. We send our thoughts and prayers to those close to him, those who knew him and to his fans that called him their favorite!
And so it is…
Jason Leffler did not have life insurance when he died. Todd Braun, current Turner Scott Motorsports owner Harry Scott and Great Clips chief financial officer Steve Overholser have established a fund to help his son.
Donations may be sent to: The Charlie Dean Leffler Discretionary Trust, c/o SunTrust Bank, 232 Williamson Road, Mooresville, NC 28117.
Or if you’re looking for an easy online way to contribute, the Tony Stewart Foundation and Jeff Patterson set up a GoFundMe project Jason Leffler Memorial Fund. The online fund will help Jason Leffler’s young son by securing his educational needs and insure that he has the same chances that the rest of us enjoy. All the money will be given to the Charlie Dean Leffler Discretionary Trust c/o Suntrust Bank.
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