SWEDESBORO, N.J. (KTLA) — Veteran NASCAR driver Jason Leffler died Wednesday after crashing during a 410 sprint car race at the Bridgeport Speedway in New Jersey, authorities said.
Leffler, 37, hit the wall on the front straightaway of the dirt track. His car flipped over several times.
The small, open-wheel vehicle was so heavily damaged that Leffler had to be extricated from the wreck.
He was airlifted to Cooper Trauma Center where he was pronounced dead.
On Thursday, the coroner’s office confirmed Leffler died of blunt force trauma to the neck.
“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.”
The Long Beach native spent most of his career in the Nationwide series where he had two wins.
He also ran 73 races in Sprint Cup, most recently at Pocono last week.
Leffler was a three-time national champion for USAC midgets and was the 1998 USAC Silver Crown national champion.
He was inducted into the National Midget Racing Hall of Fame in 2003.
Leffler is survived by his 5-year-old son Charlie Dean.
On his Twitter account, Sprint Cup Champion Brad Keselowski posted, “Really sad for Jason Leffler and his family. Thinking about his little boy 😓.”
NASCAR driver and racing commentator Michael Waltrip simply tweeted, “Sad.