Just Sunday Jason Leffler was competing in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Party in the Poconos 400 presented by Wal-Mart, where he start-and-parked the Humphrey-Smith Racing #19 on lap 8 to finish 43rd.
Three days later, he was gone.
Jason Leffer, 37, was killed in a sprint car accident last night. He left behind a 5-year old son, Charlie Dean Leffler, whom he had raised as a single parent after his wife Alison divorced him shortly after Charlie's birth.
Leffler won three NASCAR races, 2003 CWTS at Dover shortly before Ultra Motorsports fired him, 2004 NNS at Nashville shortly before Gene Haas fired him, and 2007 NNS at IRP, a race better known for Greg Biffle's refusal to be interviewed because an NNS driver had beaten him fair and square. Leffler also ran three IndyCar races, including the 2000 Indy 500.
There are horrible people who post on websites like Youtube, NASCAR, Yahoo!, and other sites who are glad drivers wreck and die. They post horrible comments claiming the doctors ate Gary Batson's flesh, or they post videos of video game wrecks titled 'Jeremy Mayfield Crash: Fatal.' To those people, I tell you now that you are a sick, sick creature and less than human if you think that way.
Jason was one of those who died doing what he loved, like Dale Earnhardt, Gilles Villeneuve, Jo Bonnier, and Henri Toivonen.
What would you do if this was your loved one? Would you be going 'Nanny nanny boo boo!'? Would you cheer as you watched your brother or son or best friend die? I seriously doubt it, but some of you are sick enough that you would.
What's so funny about watching Gordon Smiley's car slam into the wall, shattering into pieces the size of your hand in a 10 foot radius fireball, literally annihilating and imploding every square inch of his body and leaving gray streaks, the remains of his brain, on Indianapolis Motor Speedway?
What's so funny about watching Craig Jones slipping on his sportbike and having the rider behind him and run over his skull, crushing it and ending his life instantly?
What's funny about Russell Phillips decapitation and dismemberment?
Those were real people like you are, just as vulnerable to death. There's nothing funny about death. Thanks to wrecks, racing no longer has Jason Leffler, Tiny Lund, Pierre Levegh, Paul Dana, and Ayrton Senna.
I went watch Craftsman Truck Series qualifying at Lowe's Motor Speedway. During that session, every time a truck got loose, the people started loudly cheering in hopes the driver would crash, and they started booing when the driver's recovered. Do you know what cheering for a car to wreck is? It's cheering for the driver to die. Wish a driver to blow an engine; wish for him to get a speeding penalty during green flag stops; but whatever you wish, make sure you wish for that driver to be all right. The people who only watch to watch drivers wreck aren't thinking that way. That summer I also went to the Hardee's Summer Shootout; again, the people essentially only cheered if there was wrecking. Disgusting is what it is.
I regret having not attended a race since then, but I don't miss the crowds.
There are unfortunately those who have no feelings, like Anthony, "myself" (the commenter name), and commenters on other sites. The sad part is that NASCAR encourages this behavior. The networks and the officials tell the drivers 'have at it' and laud the wrecking. 'Boys have at it' actually is what killed Gwyn Staley; a rival driver at a local short track intentionally put Staley into the wall during a NASCAR Convertible Series race at Richmond in 1958, killing Staley.
It's sad that this is what people want. I am glad I watch sports cars and open-wheel cars, where the announcers curse those who try to wreck others.
Is racing losing its sanity? Are we all just corrupting our minds? There were most likely people cheering that Jason Leffler wrecked last night, not knowing at the moment that he was dying before their eyes. Is this what people want? If so, we must abolish auto racing immediately.
May someone who cared about and loved you, not your wife, be the one to raise your precious little boy.
Jason Leffer, rest in peace.
Opinions expressed in blogs are those of the individual bloggers and do not necessarily represent the views of racing-reference.info.