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In the news

Stewart will miss former teammate

SWEDESBORO, N.J. – Tony Stewart remembered Jason Leffler as a friend, teammate and doting father to 5-year-old son Charlie Dean a day after the NASCAR driver was killed in a crash at a dirt track.

“Jason Leffler was a great racer and an even better friend,” Stewart, the three-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion who was once a teammate of Leffler’s at Joe Gibbs Racing, said Thursday.

“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.”

The 37-year-old Leffler, a two-time winner on the NASCAR Nationwide Series, died Wednesday night after the crash in a heat race in a 410 Sprint Car event at Bridgeport Speedway, a 0.625-mile, high-banked dirt oval about 15 miles southwest of Philadelphia.

A spectator, 40-year-old Chris Taitt of West Deptford, said Leffler had been in second place, apart from other cars when his winged car slammed into a wall at the fourth turn.

Taitt said the wing was “flattened like a pancake” and the seat appeared to be displaced.

Leffler’s representative, Spire Sports, said funeral arrangements are being made.

“Despite his many accomplishments, Jason still followed in the same footsteps of his heroes that would race anything, anytime. All Jason wanted to do was race. He was the life of every party and a true racer,” Spire said in a statement. “We will miss Jason dearly and know that his family appreciates all the thoughts and prayers.”

On Thursday, New Jersey State Police were trying to determine what caused the crash.

– Associated Press

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