NASCAR driver Jason Leffler dies from injuries at dirt track

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Driver Jason Leffler has died after an accident at a dirt car event at Bridgesport Speedway in New Jersey.

Leffler, 37, was involved in an accident at the five-eighths mile high-banked dirt track. According to NBC Philadelphia, he had to be extricated from his car and taken by air to Cooper Trauma Center, where he succumbed to his injuries.

Leffler was a veteran of the NASCAR ranks, and a one-time starter in the Indianapolis 500 (2000). He made his first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series start of the season this past Sunday in Pocono, Pa., finishing last.

He won twice in nearly 300 starts in the second-tier NASCAR Nationwide Series, and also had a single win in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. His 2007 Nationwide win at the Indianapolis Raceway Park was the first for the Toyota Camry in that series. He was also the predecessor to Denny Hamlin in the No. 11 FedEx entry at Joe Gibbs Racing, driving for Gibbs in 2005.

A statement from NASCAR said the following: ““NASCAR extends its thoughts, prayers and deepest sympathies to the family of Jason Leffler who passed away earlier this evening. For more than a decade, Jason was a fierce competitor in our sport and he will be missed.”

He is survived by his only son, Charlie.

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Image capture via NBC News Video Team.

SMP Racing unveils BR1 LMP1 car in Bahrain ahead of WEC entry

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SMP Racing has publicly unveiled its new BR1 LMP1 car that will enter the FIA World Endurance Championship from 2018.

SMP Racing opted to pull out of racing full-time in the WEC for 2017 in order to focus on its preparations for an LMP1 entry the following year, with the decision being taken long in advance of Porsche’s exit announcement.

Officials from the Russian-backed SMP Racing, as well as drivers including recent IndyCar racer Mikhail Aleshin (sporting a broken arm in a sling), Vitaly Petrov and Sergey Sirotkin were all on hand to unveil the car on Friday in the Bahrain International Circuit paddock ahead of this weekend’s WEC finale.

The BR Engineering BR1 features a Dallara chassis and an AER engine, and has completed over 2,000 km in private testing, with further running set to be completed in the coming weeks.

SMP Racing plans to field two cars in the WEC’s LMP1 class next year, and is keen to get as many Russian drivers as possible in the seats from its wide pool of talent.

Even with Porsche’s departure from LMP1, the class is set to feature a bigger field thanks to the increased number of privateers moving up, with Toyota set to remain the sole manufacturer in the class.