- Associated Press - Saturday, June 15, 2013

BROOKLYN, MICH. (AP) - Dale Earnhardt Jr. dealt with the aftermath of his famous father’s death more than a decade ago. He was asked Saturday how the racing community’s reaction to tragedy has changed over the years.

Jason Leffler died Wednesday after a sprint car crash in New Jersey. Several drivers have shared their appreciation of the 37-year-old driver.

Public outpourings like this were more rare in the past. Earnhardt said changing generations mean different ways of dealing with loss.

“I think it’s a totally different world,” he said. “All the information is out there and accessible with the social media, and the way we interact with each other is a lot faster, and information is easier to obtain. I think that’s changed the way we communicate as individuals.”

“It’s not as uncomfortable or awkward to really speak about some subjects and recognize some situations,” he continued. “Specifically when it comes to recognizing people we’ve lost, it comes a lot easier, and I think it’s a process that’s not as difficult as it was years ago, I think, just because the way society has changed, and the way we all communicate and view each other. That’s just a guess.”

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