Jason Leffler Dead: NASCAR Driver Killed in Race at 37

Nascar driver Jason Leffler was killed during a race in New Jersey on June 12, 2013. John Harrelson/Getty Images for NASCAR

The NASCAR community is in mourning this week following the death of driver Jason Leffler on Wednesday, June 12, in a crash at Bridgeport Speedway in Swedesboro, N.J. According to the Associated Press, Leffler was pronounced dead around 9 p.m. EDT after an earlier accident during a heat race at a sprint-car event. He was 37 years old.

"NASCAR extends its thoughts, prayers and deepest sympathies to the family of Jason Leffler, who passed away earlier this evening," the association said in a statement. "For more than a decade, Jason was a fierce competitor in our sport, and he will be missed."

Others in the racing community echoed that sentiment. "We are very saddened at the passing of Jason Leffler," Indianapolis Motor Speedway chief operating officer J. Douglas Boles said in a separate statement. "He was one of the most versatile race drivers in America, showing his talent by competing in the Indianapolis 500 and the Brickyard 400 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway during his career."

"He also displayed the skills that would help him reach the top levels of the sport by winning four USAC national series titles while winning on tracks throughout the Midwest," Boles added. "Jason was a terrific guy who always had time for everyone. Our deepest sympathies are extended to his entire family, team and fans."

A native of Long Beach, Calif., Leffler began his NASCAR career in 1999. In the years after, he made a combined 423 starts, winning twice in the Nationwide Series and once in the Camping World Truck Series. His most recent NASCAR start was in the Sprint Cup Series at Pocono Raceway on Sunday, June 9.

Leffler is survived by a 5-year-old son, Charlie Dean.

Sign up now for the Us Weekly newsletter to get breaking celebrity news, hot pics and more delivered straight to your inbox!

Want stories like these delivered straight to your phone? Download the Us Weekly iPhone app now!