According to PennLive.com, something apparently broke in Leffler's car during one of the heats, causing him to veer off the track and drive straight into a wall. He later died at Cooper Trauma Center.
Jason Leffler, who included his nickname, "LEFturn," on the windows of his cars, had previously driven in the highest levels of autosports racing. He last ran a full NASCAR season in 2011, when he was part of the Nationwide Series. Jason Leffler also appeared in three IndyCar races, most notably a 17th place-finish in the 2000 Indianapolis 500.
However, he did not have a team for the 2013 NASCAR season, so he had mostly been riding in lower-level events.
"NASCAR extends its thoughts, prayers and deepest sympathies to the family of Jason Leffler who passed away earlier this evening," NASCAR said in a statement. "For more than a decade, Jason was a fierce competitor in our sport and he will be missed."
Indeed, according to ESPN, drivers from all levels of racing took to Twitter to express their condolences to Leffler's family, notably his five-year-old son, Charlie Dean.
"My heart goes out to @JasonLeffler family," wrote AJ Allmendinger, who has spent time on both the NASCAR and IndyCar circuits. "He was a great guy. So friendly and a hell of a racecar drive. So saddened by this. #Restinpeace."
"Deeply saddened by the passing of @JasonLeffler tonight," added NASCAR driver Kyle Busch. "Please keep his family in your thoughts and prayers. #LEFturn."
"Rest in peace @Jasonleffler," added Courtney Force from the NHRA. "Glad I got the opportunity to meet u. Sad to see another great driver taken. Godspeed.."
As Yahoo Sports notes, Leffler had never driven the winged sprint cars like the one he was in at Bridgeport before this season. However, just two months into the season, he recorded two top-10 finishes, including one at the All-Star Circuit of Champions.
These dirt car races can often be dangerous, however, According to OneDirt.com, a drive named Josh Burton died at Bridgeport Speedway in two weeks ago when his car flipped into the air on a turn. Per Associated Press, at least four other people have been killed at dirt track events since March.
This, as AP notes, could be a result of the relative weaker safety measures at these lower-level races. Both IndyCar and NASCAR races have SAFER barriers, softer walls that lessen the impact during crashes. However, these have not yet made their way to dirt track events.
Video has surfaced online of some of Jason Leffler's final laps at Bridgeport before his crash. You can watch them below here. Leffler is apparently in the black and yellow car.