Record updated 15-Sep-06
Leffler won 3 consecutive Midget championships from 1997 to 1999. He now races in NASCAR.
Jason Leffler is a NASCAR driver from Long Beach, California. A former driver in the open-wheel ranks, Leffler has driven in NASCAR's three major series since.
Leffler began his career driving midgets in the USAC sprint car series, where he won 3 consecutive Midget championships from 1997 to 1999, as well as the Silver Crown series championship in 1998. His success caught the attention of Joe Gibbs Racing, a team who had previous signed Tony Stewart from the USAC ranks. Leffler joined the team in 1999 and made 4 starts in the Busch Series during the season with moderate success. At the same time, he also started a race in the Indy Racing League.
During the 2000 season, Leffler drove full time for the #18 MBNA sponsored Busch team. He finished 20th in the championship and earned 3 pole positions during the year and finished 2nd at Phoenix. He also made 2 IRL starts, among them a start in the Indianapolis 500 where he started and finished 17th.
His rookie season caught the attention of Chip Ganassi Racing, who hired the young Leffler to drive his #01 Dodge Interprid in Winston Cup, which was sponsored by Cingular Wireless. During his inaugural Cup season, he won the pole at the inaugural race at Kansas Speedway However, he had only 1 top 10 finish and 4 failures to qualify. After his 37th place finish in the championship, Ganassi replaced him with Jimmy Spencer for the 2002 season.
Leffler joined Ultra Motorsports in 2002 and had great success early on with the team. In his first year, he tied a single season Craftsman Truck Series record by scoring 8 pole positions, and qualified no worse than 8th at any race during the season. Despite not winning a race, 6 second place finishes and a 4th place finish in the championship. Leffler finally broke through in 2003 when he scored his first career victory at Dover. Despite being in the top 10 in points, however, he was fired from Ultra Motorsports ride after taking over in the Haas CNC Racing #0 NetZero Pontiac, which breached his contract with the Dodge-powered truck team.
Leffler made 10 starts in Cup with Haas before Ward Burton took over. Haas then moved Leffler to the Haas Automation #00 car in Busch for the remainder of 2003, and later all of 2004. At Nashville Superspeedway in 2004, Leffler scored his first career Busch Series victory. He was running 3rd in the points when the team inexplicably released him from his contract. He ended up finishing 12th in the championship despite missing the last 7 races.
Shortly after being replaced at Haas, Leffler signed a deal to re-join Joe Gibbs Racing for 2005, taking over in a newly created Cup team sponsored by FedEx. The #11 Chevrolet awas regularly outside of the top 35 in points, meaning that it was not guaranteed a starting spot for all races; Leffler was unable to qualify for the Coca-Cola 600 because of it. He was replaced by Terry Labonte for the two road-course races and, eventually, was replaced by him (plus J.J. Yeley and Denny Hamlin) for the remainder of the season after failing to score a top 10 in 19 starts.
While racing with Gibbs, Leffler briefly raced with Braun Racing in the Busch Series, a team that had lost their regular driver, Shane Hmiel, to a drug suspension. After leaving Gibbs, Leffler joined Braun Racing on a full-time basis for the remainder of the season. Leffler has scored 4 top 10 finishes with Braun in 9 starts for the team.
For the 2006 season, Leffler was signed to return to Braun-Akins Racing to drive the #32 Chevrolets. The team will carry sponsorship from Lucas Oil, Fraternal Order of Eagles, and ABF U-Pack Moving. Recently, Leffler has been driving for a "new" team, the old #32 team is now #38 with sponsorship from Great Clips.