“Jason was a really good friend of mine,” said Kahne. “It’s really just unbelievable to see what’s going on.
“Watching social media throughout the night, seeing where it was going and then to know that he had passed was heartbreaking. It was really tough. I’ve known him since 1999. We did a lot together at Indianapolis and then as he moved to Charlotte.”
Kahne said Leffler was instrumental in his success as a midget and Sprint car driver, adding, “He was a big part of me getting to drive for (midget and Sprint Car owner) Steve Lewis. A big part of my career was driving for Steve.
“Jason was always calling, trying to help me drive those midgets,” he said. “(He would) do whatever he could, because he was so good in them. Over the last couple of years, I’ve spent time with him either in the winter or at the track. Last weekend, we traveled together (and) he was in a great place. He was super excited; running four out of five nights in a Sprint Car for a guy in Pennsylvania who gave him great equipment and a great opportunity. He was loving it.
“He was at our shop Monday morning working out,” recalled Kahne. “He had Charlie (his son) with him… I saw him and talked to him. It’s just unreal that he is not with us anymore. Freak things happen.
“It was just a tough wreck,” he said. “As far as our (Sprint Car) teams go, I talked to all of them yesterday. We do as much as we can with the safety, with trying to have the best seats to contain you. All of our cars have that. All of our drivers do, and we keep the freshest parts in the cars as we can.
“Things still happen its racing. (No matter what) we do -- what anyone of us does each day -- it can happen. I just feel for his family and his son.”