Life is a precious gift and most of the time, we take this wonderful gift for granted. It's not until something tragic happens that we stop and re-evaluate our lives, but even then, some people are only appreciative of life for a few hours, maybe even a few days, but that shouldn't be the case.
In the racing community, we're not just race fans, drivers, crew members, spotters, team owners, or even public relations managers, we're a family; so when something happens, we all band together to get through the rough patch. That's exactly what the racing family is doing right now.
I, personally, always called Jason Leffler "the dude with the crazy hair," because the guy always had a mohawk or some crazy hairstyle going on. I never fully understood how he could put a helmet on with a mohawk, drive for four or five hours straight, then get out of the car, and still have the mohawk; obviously he had some great hair products to keep it like that. What does that have to do with the serious situation that's going on? Absolutely everything. See, I'm that person that tries to cheer people up when they're feeling sad, and hopefully, while you read that, you put aside the negative thoughts and actually recalled the fact that the guy really did have pretty awesome hair, putting somewhat of a smile on your face.
Wednesday night I was at my Senior Prom, it was a happy night - that was, until I scrolled through my Twitter timeline. When I saw that Jason was involved in a serious crash at Bridgeport Speedway, a dirt track in Swedesboro, New Jersey, I said a quick prayer and hoped for the best. My night continued as planned, I just had the crash in the back of my mind. I didn't get the tragic news until I was in Times Square at my after prom. My date looked up at the billboard with the breaking news and looked at me and said, "It just said something about a NASCAR driver dying from undetermined injuries." I could actually feel my heart sink; I shook my head and knew exactly who it was.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the Leffler family and friends, but most importantly with little five-year-old Charlie Dean. Charlie is Jason's son who absolutely idolized his father. Judging by Leffler's Instagram photo stream, the love he had for his son was undeniable - he was proud of his son for graduating kindergarten three short weeks ago, he loved showing Charlie the tracks and racecars, and overall, he was just a proud dad. I'm sure that Leffler's family and friends, as well as the racing community, will constantly show little Charlie how loved his father was and how much we are all here to help out with whatever he needs.
Life can't be taken for granted. So be grateful, go hug someone you love, or just go outside and look around. Life is good; appreciate everything you have, because in the blink of an eye, everything could be gone.