Racing community reacts to Jason Leffler's death

Geoff Burke

The racing community reacts to the passing of Jason Leffler.

Having competed in various USAC and open-wheel races over for many years and having been in NASCAR since the 1999 season, Jason Leffler formed strong ties with those he raced against.

It was not a surprise then, when shortly after the news of his death was announced, the outpouring of emotion expressed from those in the motorsports community was profound.

Tony Stewart was a close friend of Leffler's, as the two rose through the USAC ranks together chasing their dream of stardom. The two would later be NASCAR teammates at Joe Gibbs Racing.

It was Stewart's success in the Sprint Cup Series that helped pave the way for open-wheel drivers like Leffler to make the transition to NASCAR.

"Jason Leffler was a great racer and an even better friend," Stewart said Thursday in a statement. "We raced together a lot, and our career paths were very similar. He loved racing, especially open-wheel racing, and that's a passion we both share. To not have him around to talk about whatever race one of us had just run, or were going to run, will be hard. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family, especially his son, Charlie, who Jason loved more than anything."

Many others shared their sentiments on Twitter, reflecting on the friendly disposition of the driver nicknamed "lefTurn," which was stenciled above his driver's side window. A frequent comment was the devotion he had for his 5-year-old son, Charlie.

Leffler was 37.

Here are some thoughts from fellow drivers:

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