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Jason C. Leffler

Birthdate: (37)
Birthplace: Long Beach, Los Angeles County, California, United States
Death: Died in Chester, Delaware, Pennsylvania, USA
Cause of death: Auto Racing accident
Place of Burial: Cornelius, Mecklenburg County, Norfth Carolina, United States
Immediate Family:

Ex-husband of <private> Leffler (East)
Father of Minor Child

Occupation: American professional open-wheel and stock car racing driver
Managed by: Eldon Clark (C)
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

    • <private> Leffler (East)
      ex-spouse
    • Minor Child
      child

About Jason Leffler

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Jason Leffler (September 16, 1975 – June 12, 2013) was an American racing driver from Long Beach, California. Leffler began racing in the open-wheel ranks, competing in the 2000 Indianapolis 500 before moving to primarily NASCAR competition. He died from injuries sustained in a sprint car race at Bridgeport Speedway in New Jersey.

Leffler began his career racing midget cars in the USAC series, where he won 3 consecutive Midget championships from 1997 and 1999, as well as the Silver Crown series championship in 1998. He was the third driver to win three consecutive midget car championships.[1] He won the Hut Hundred and Belleville Nationals in 1997, and the Turkey Night Grand Prix and Copper Classic in 1999.[1] He won his second Turkey Night Grand Prix in 2005.

Roger Penske met Leffler at the 1998 Hut 100. Leffler's success also caught the attention of Joe Gibbs Racing, a team who had previously signed Tony Stewart from the USAC ranks. Leffler joined the team in 1999 and made 4 starts in the Busch Series during the season with moderate success. At the same time, he also started a race in the Indy Racing League at Walt Disney World Speedway in the #5 Treadway Racing machine, but finished last after wrecking early in the race.

Leffler made his first, and only, start in the Indianapolis 500 in 2000. This effort was put forth by Treadway Racing with backing from Roger Penske's United Auto group. Leffler qualified in the 17th position, which is also where he finished; 3 laps behind race winner Juan Pablo Montoya. NASCAR career

During the 2000 season, Leffler drove full-time for the #18 MBNA sponsored Busch team. He finished 20th in the championship and earned three pole positions during the year and finished second at Phoenix. He also made two IRL starts, among them a start for Treadway in the Indianapolis 500 where he started and finished 17th. After that season, he moved up to the Winston Cup Series to drive the #01 Chip Ganassi Racing Dodge Intrepid in Winston Cup, which was sponsored by Cingular Wireless. During his inaugural Cup season, he won the pole at the inaugural race at Kansas Speedway, but had only one top 10 finish and 4 failures to qualify. After his 37th-place finish in the championship, Ganassi replaced him with Jimmy Spencer for the 2002 season.

Leffler joined Ultra Motorsports in 2002 and had great success early on with the team. In his first year, he tied a single season Craftsman Truck Series record by scoring 8 pole positions, and qualified no worse than 8th at any race during the season. Despite not winning a race, he had six second-place finishes and a fourth-place finish in the championship. Leffler finally broke through in 2003 when he scored his first career victory at Dover. Despite being in the top 10 in points, however, he was fired from Ultra Motorsports ride after taking over in the Haas CNC Racing #0 NetZero Pontiac, which breached his contract with the Dodge-funded truck team. He won the 2002 Night before the 500 midget car race. Leffler in the #32, racing at Daytona in 2006

Leffler made 10 starts in Cup with Haas before Ward Burton took over. Haas then moved Leffler to the Haas Automation #00 car in Busch for the remainder of 2003, and later all of 2004. At Nashville Superspeedway in 2004, Leffler scored his first career Busch Series victory. He was running third in the points when the team released him from his contract. He ended up finishing 12th in the championship despite missing the last seven races.

Shortly after being replaced at Haas, Leffler signed a deal to re-join Joe Gibbs Racing for 2005, taking over in a newly created Cup team sponsored by FedEx. The #11 Chevrolet was regularly outside of the top 35 in points, meaning that it was not guaranteed a starting spot for all races; Leffler was unable to qualify for the Coca-Cola 600 because of it. He was replaced by Terry Labonte for the two road-course races and, eventually, was fired from JGR after 19 starts in which he failed to record a top ten finish. He was replaced by a mix of Labonte and JGR developmental drivers J.J. Yeley and Denny Hamlin, the latter of whom took over the car full-time the following season.

While racing with Gibbs, Leffler briefly raced with Braun Racing in the Busch Series, a team that had lost their regular driver, Shane Hmiel, to a drug suspension. After leaving Gibbs, Leffler joined Braun Racing on a full-time basis for the remainder of the season. Leffler has scored four top 10 finishes with Braun in 9 starts for the team.

For the 2006 season, Leffler was signed to return to Braun Racing to drive the #32 Chevrolet. The team carried sponsorship from Lucas Oil, Fraternal Order of Eagles, and ABF U-Pack Moving. The #32 team became the #38 team with sponsorship from Great Clips after it merged with Akins Motorsports. Jason also attempted to qualify for the second last race of the chase at Phoenix in the #71 for Braun Racing but failed to qualify.

During the 2007 season, Leffler won the pole for the Winn-Dixie 250 at Daytona International Speedway. He finished 9th. Leffler would make NASCAR history July 28, 2007 as he passed Greg Biffle with two laps remaining to win the Busch Series Kroger 200 at O'Reilly Raceway Park. The win marked the first race victory for a Toyota Camry in Busch Series competition, and the first win for a foreign manufacturer in a top-tier NASCAR series since Al Keller won in a Jaguar in 1954. The win also marked Leffler's second career Busch Series win and first win since the 2004 season. Leffer returned to Sprint Cup in 2008 for a few races in the #70 Haas CNC Chevy while driving full-time for Braun Racing's #38 Toyota Camry.

In 2009 at the July Daytona race weekend it was announced that the #38 Toyota car would be shared with Kasey Kahne for the 2010 Nationwide season. Leffler remained in the #38 Great Clips Toyota in 2010 and 2011. In late 2011 he was informed that he was free to pursue other opportunities for the 2012 season.

On January 9, 2012, Kyle Busch Motorsports announced that Leffler would drive the #18 truck for 14 races with sponsorship from Dollar General. However, strings of bad luck and poor finishes plagued the team, and Leffler was released on August 14.

Leffler also returned to the Sprint Cup Series in 2012, driving for Robinson-Blakeney Racing at Watkins Glen International, and for Humphrey Smith Racing at Michigan International Speedway.

Leffler made a single Sprint Cup Series start in 2013, driving Humphrey Smith Racing's No. 19 Toyota Camry at Pocono Raceway in early June; he start-and-parked, finishing 43rd in the event.

On June 12, 2013, Leffler was involved in a crash during a sprint car heat race at Bridgeport Speedway in Logan Township, New Jersey. Running second, he crashed into a wall and flipped several times. Leffler was airlifted to Crozer-Chester Medical Center in nearby Chester, Pennsylvania,where he was pronounced dead at 9 p.m. EDT. Leffler had a son, Charlie, who was 5 at the time of the accident.


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Jason C. Leffler (September 16, 1975 – June 12, 2013) was an American professional open-wheel and stock car racing driver. Leffler began racing in the open-wheel ranks, competing in the 2000 Indianapolis 500 before moving to primarily NASCAR competition. He died from injuries sustained in a 410 sprint car race at Bridgeport Speedway in Bridgeport, New Jersey.

Leffler began his career racing midget cars in the USAC series, where he won three consecutive midget championships from 1997 and 1999, as well as the Silver Crown series championship in 1998. He was the third driver to win three consecutive midget car championships.[1] He won the Hut Hundred and Belleville Nationals in 1997, and the Turkey Night Grand Prix and Copper Classic in 1999.[1] He won his second Turkey Night Grand Prix in 2005. Roger Penske met Leffler at the 1998 Hut 100. Leffler's success also caught the attention of Joe Gibbs Racing, a team which had previously signed Tony Stewart from the USAC ranks. Leffler joined the team in 1999 and made four starts in the Busch Series during the season with moderate success. At the same time, he also started a race in the Indy Racing League at Walt Disney World Speedway in the No. 5 Treadway Racing machine, but finished last after crashing early in the race. Leffler made his first, and only, start in the Indianapolis 500 in 2000. This effort was put forth by Treadway Racing with backing from Roger Penske's United Auto group. Leffler qualified in the 17th position, which was also where he finished; three laps behind race winner Juan Pablo Montoya. During the 2000 season, Leffler drove full-time for the No. 18 MBNA sponsored Busch team. He finished twentieth in the championship and earned three pole positions during the year and finished second at Phoenix. He also made two IRL starts, among them a start for Treadway in the Indianapolis 500 where he started and finished seventeenth. After that season he moved up to the Winston Cup Series to become the driver of the #01 car for Chip Ganassi Racing as the permanent replacement for Kenny Irwin, Jr., who was killed in a practice crash while driving for the same team. Leffler's car retained sponsorship from BellSouth through its Cingular Wireless property, and with Ganassi's purchase of a stake in Felix Sabates' former team came a switch in manufacturer as Leffler became one of several drivers to drive Dodge Intrepids in the brand's return to NASCAR. It was a controversial decision, as Leffler performed poorly the season prior in excellent Joe Gibbs equipment in the Busch series. During his inaugural Cup season, he had only one top 10 finish and four failures to qualify. After his 37th-place finish in the 2001 championship, Ganassi replaced him with Jimmy Spencer for the 2002 season.

Leffler joined Ultra Motorsports in 2002 to drive the #2 Carquest/Team ASE Dodge Ram in place of the departed Scott Riggs and had great success early on with the team. In his first year, he tied a single season Craftsman Truck Series record by scoring eight pole positions, and qualified no worse than eighth at any race during the season. Despite not winning a race, he had six second-place finishes and a fourth-place finish in the championship. He also won the Night Before the 500 midget race and got to drive Ultra's #7 car in the final two races of the Cup Series season after the team fired Casey Atwood. Leffler finally broke through in 2003 when he scored his first career victory at Dover. Leffler in the No. 32, racing at Daytona in 2006

Despite the success, Leffler ended up losing his ride at Ultra in controversial fashion. Haas CNC Racing, which was fielding its first full-time Cup Series team, had fired its driver Jack Sprague after the Tropicana 400. Team owner Gene Haas named John Andretti as his replacement, but he was unavailable for the Brickyard 400 due to a prior commitment with Dale Earnhardt, Inc.. Haas approached Leffler to drive the #0 NetZero Pontiac Grand Prix in the race and he agreed to do so. Ultra, which had warned Leffler that such a move would be in violation of his contract, responded by firing him.

Leffler made ten starts in the #0, becoming the permanent driver after the Sirius Satellite Radio at the Glen. The team then signed Ward Burton away from Bill Davis Racing to take over the car, and he joined the team before the season was over to get a head start. Leffler was moved to the #00 Haas Automation car in the Busch Series for the remainder of 2003, with the idea that he would remain there for 2004. At Nashville Superspeedway in 2004, Leffler scored his first career Busch Series victory. He was running third in the points when the team released him from his contract. He ended up finishing twelfth in the championship despite missing the last seven races.

Shortly after his dismissal, Leffler signed a deal to re-join Joe Gibbs Racing for 2005, taking over a newly created Cup team sponsored by FedEx. The No. 11 Chevrolet was regularly outside of the top 35 in points, meaning that it was not guaranteed a starting spot for all races; Leffler was unable to qualify for the Coca-Cola 600 because of it. He was replaced by Terry Labonte for the two road-course races and, eventually, was fired from JGR after nineteen starts in which he failed to record a top ten finish. He was replaced by a mix of Labonte and JGR developmental drivers J.J. Yeley and Denny Hamlin, the latter of whom took over the car full-time the following season.

While racing with Gibbs, Leffler briefly raced with Braun Racing in the Busch Series, a team that had lost their regular driver, Shane Hmiel, to a drug suspension. After leaving Gibbs, Leffler joined Braun Racing on a full-time basis for the remainder of the season. Leffler has scored four top ten finishes with Braun in nine starts for the team.

For the 2006 season, Leffler was signed to return to Braun Racing to drive the No. 32 Chevrolet. The team carried sponsorship's from Lucas Oil, Fraternal Order of Eagles, and ABF U-Pack Moving. The No. 32 team became the No. 38 team with sponsorship from Great Clips after it merged with Akins Motorsports. Jason also attempted to qualify for the second to last race of the chase at Phoenix in the No. 71 for Braun Racing but failed to qualify.

During the 2007 season, Leffler won the pole for the Winn-Dixie 250 at Daytona International Speedway. He finished ninth. Leffler would make NASCAR history July 28, 2007 as he passed Greg Biffle with two laps remaining to win the Busch Series Kroger 200 at O'Reilly Raceway Park. The win marked the first race victory for a Toyota Camry in Busch Series competition, and the first win for a foreign manufacturer in a top-tier NASCAR series since Al Keller won in a Jaguar in 1954. The win also marked Leffler's second career Busch Series win and first win since the 2004 season. Leffler returned to Sprint Cup in 2008 for a few races in the No. 70 Haas CNC Chevy while driving full-time for Braun Racing's No. 38 Toyota Camry.

In 2009 at the July Daytona race weekend it was announced that the No. 38 Toyota car would be shared with Kasey Kahne for the 2010 NASCAR Nationwide Series season. Leffler remained in the Great Clips Toyota in 2010 and 2011. In late 2011 he was informed that he was free to pursue other opportunities for the 2012 season.

On January 9, 2012, Kyle Busch Motorsports announced that Leffler would drive the No. 18 truck for fourteen races with sponsorship from Dollar General. However, strings of bad luck and poor finishes plagued the team, and Leffler was released on August 14.

Leffler also returned to the Cup Series in 2012, driving for Robinson-Blakeney Racing at Watkins Glen International,[4] and for Humphrey Smith Racing at Michigan International Speedway.[5]

Leffler made a single Cup Series start in 2013, driving Humphrey Smith Racing's No. 19 Toyota Camry at Pocono Raceway in early June, three days before his death; he started and parked, finishing 43rd in the event.

On June 12, 2013 at 8:30 PM, Leffler was involved in a crash during a 410 sprint car heat race at the 5⁄8-mile (1.0 km) Bridgeport Speedway in Logan Township, New Jersey. Running second with a few laps left, his car suffered a front suspension failure, causing it to crash into a wall and flip several times.

Leffler instantly lost consciousness in the accident. When it was found that Leffler was not breathing, the rest of the race was cancelled and victory lane ceremonies did not take place. He was airlifted by helicopter to Crozer-Chester Medical Center in Chester, Pennsylvania,[9] where he was pronounced dead at 9 PM, 30 minutes after the wreck. EDT.[10] An autopsy report stated that the cause of death was a severe blunt force neck and backbone injury.

After his death, many drivers and racing associations such as NASCAR and IndyCar made statements on the death and gave their condolences. NASCAR drivers competing in the 2013 Quicken Loans 400 had special stickers placed on their cars in honor of Leffler. Denny Hamlin, who replaced Leffler in the No. 11 FedEx Toyota in late 2005 had his car repainted to resemble Leffler's variation.

Leffler had a son, Charlie Dean, with Alison East (from whom he was divorced), who was five years old at the time of his death; they resided in North Carolina.

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Jason Leffler's Timeline

1975
September 16, 1975
Long Beach, Los Angeles County, California, United States
2013
June 12, 2013
Age 37
Chester, Delaware, Pennsylvania, USA
????
Cornelius, Mecklenburg County, Norfth Carolina, United States