Staff and wire reports, USA TODAY Sports
NASCAR driver Jason Leffler died after an accident Wednesday night ata dirt car event at Bridgeport Speedway, according to a report by TheAssociated Press.
The 37-year-old Leffler, a two-time winner onthe Nationwide Series, was pronounced dead shortly after 9 p.m., NewJersey State Police told The Associated Press.
Leffler was racingin a 410 Sprint car heat race at the 5/8-mile, high-banked dirt ovalwhen his car flipped multiple times down the front straightaway,according to eyewitness Christopher Taitt, 40, of West Deptford, N.J.Leffler was in second place at the time of the crash.
Taitt saidLeffler's car hit the wall and "then it was flopping all over." Thetrack canceled the rest of the evening's schedule.
Leffler, 37,made 73 starts in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series - most recently at Poconolast weekend, where he finished 43rd. He had one top-10 finish in hisCup career and also won two races in the Nationwide Series, where hemade 294 career starts.
Leffler, who was affectionately known as"lefTurn" and had the nickname written above the driver's side window onhis race cars, leave behind a son, Charlie, 5.
Leffler started his career as an open-wheel star who won threeconsecutive USAC Midget championships from 1997-99. Following the pathof former USAC star Tony Stewart, he signed with Joe Gibbs Racing forthe Nationwide Series in 2000.
After finishing 20th in pointswith three pole positions and four top 10s in his rookie season, Lefflermoved into NASCAR's premier Cup Series with Chip Ganassi Racing. Helasted only one year after failing to qualify for five of 36 races in2001.
Leffler moved to the Camping World Truck Series for twoyears, scoring his first NASCAR national series victory at DoverInternational Speedway in 2003. He began dabbling in Cup again, making10 starts for Haas CNC Racing that season.
In 2004, he earned his first Nationwide Series win and scored 17 top 10s in 27 starts with Haas CNC.
Thatearned him his second shot at Cup in 2005 as Joe Gibbs Racing expandedto a third car with FedEx sponsorship. Leffler, though, didn't last theseason, being fired by the team after 21 races when he was ranked 35thin points and had failed to qualify for the Coca-Cola 600. Denny Hamlintook over the No. 11 car late in the season.
Leffler raced fulltime in Nationwide from 2006-11, earning his final national series winat Indianapolis Raceway Park in 2007 when he finished a career-highthird in points.
He made 11 starts in Sprint Cup over the past four seasons.