IndyCar community remembers Jason Leffler for his open-wheel contributions

Geoff Burke

Before joining the NASCAR ranks, Jason Leffler was a rising open-wheel star in the 1990s. He eventually made three starts in what is now the IZOD IndyCar Series including the 2000 Indianapolis 500.

While Jason Leffler will most likely be remembered for his NASCAR career, he was quite accomplished in the open-wheel ranks as well - particularly at the dirt track and sprint car levels.

Leffler was raised near the open-wheel hub of Long Beach, Calif. and quickly made a name for himself in a USAC midget, winning three-consecutive championships from 1997-1999 and also winning two of the discipline's most prestigious events -- the Turkey Night Grand Prix and the Copper World Classic.

From there, he moved on to the IndyCar Series, making three starts, including the 2000 Indianapolis 500 where he finished 17th in a car with Penske support.

From an IndyCar perspective, Leffler will be seen as one of many of his generation that could have been an open-wheel superstar but was lured away to NASCAR during the height of the Indy car split. Tony Stewart, JJ Yeley and Kasey Kahne are also on that list.

So while Yeley will be fondly remembered as a positive and happy NASCAR family member, the open-wheel community has also claimed Leffler, wanting to pay their respect and send condolences.

IndyCar itself sent out a press release and several drivers paid their respects on Twitter this morning. With a competitor as popular and talented as Jason Leffler, the entire racing community has memories and thoughts they wanted to share and some of those tweets have been provided below.

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