Far more important than a racer was Leffler's job as father.
On Monday, Leffler's girlfriend, brother and representatives at Spire Sports discussed his financial situation to clear up growing misconceptions and rumors about the estate he left behind for Charlie.
His former sister-in-law told Sporting News on Friday that Leffler did not have life insurance when he died. But it's not that simple and some believe that was a deliberate attempt to solicit donations to an account that had been established for both Charlie and Leffler's ex-wife.
"It's insane that someone would bring this up, would bring up life insurance, within a day of this happening. We haven't even had the funeral yet," Patterson said. "Jason would never have left Charlie with nothing. Never. To suggest otherwise is not true and it's evil.
"I remember he went into Charlie's room one night before bed and said to him, 'Everything I do is for you,' and Charlie hugged him and said, 'You almost made me cry, Dad.' Those two loved each other more than anything in the entire world."
The reality is that disability and life insurance for race car drivers are expensive and difficult to get -- usually issued only by Lloyds of London -- and the premiums are substantial. Leffler's last full Nationwide season was in 2011, and he'd run just 12 NASCAR races in 2012.
He didn't have deep resources to buy insurance anymore; the night he was killed, the winner was guaranteed just $7,000. So perhaps Leffler didn't think life insurance was the best investment for Charlie Dean's future.
But Leffler still invested specifically with his son in mind, his loved ones say, and took steps to ensure his son would be cared for before his death and in the event of his death. He had disability insurance and other policies, and funds established for Charlie.
"He absolutely bent over backward to do whatever was best for Charlie," said Chris Leffler, executor of the drivers' will. "He probably could have held on to a lot more in the divorce. But he sacrificed, did without, and has done whatever necessary to make sure Charlie is taken care of. I've seen a little bit of what's been insinuated and it's disappointing."
Although Leffler made sure Charlie was provided for, The Charlie Dean Leffler Discretionary Trust was announced Saturday with three trustees. It was created in part because the racing community and fans often contribute regardless of need -- more than $650,000 was raised for two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Dan Wheldon's family following his 2011 death -- and to ensure any money donated went solely to Charlie's needs.
Leffler, Charlie and Patterson had planned to move into a new apartment this weekend, and Charlie had been so excited for his new bed and the flags that were going to be hung in his new room. He'd only in the last year begun to understand his father's place in the racing world, and at Christmas when he was given Jimmie Johnson and Kasey Kahne trading cards, Charlie only wanted cards of his dad.
He'd recently learned how to Google his father, Patterson said, and once even asked Leffler for his autograph. They lived together as a little family for two years, baking cookies and making every color of Jell-O possible, taking long walks with Charlie's compass and binoculars and playing sprint cars on the floor.
"All Jason would want now is for Charlie to know who his dad was, to be cared for and to know how much he loved his little dude," Patterson said. "He wasn't irresponsible, he wasn't careless and he wasn't reckless. He took every step possible because Charlie was his world."