Local stock car driver has fun in the driver’s seat

Wayne Coffman stands beside his modified car he races at Bakersfield Speedway

Photos and Story By Ray Conner

Wayne Coffman likes driving around in circles on the dirt. 

Skidding and sliding his way around Bakersfield Speedway, he is in search of racing his way to success. Coffman of Weldon, with plenty of support races dirt track at Bakersfield Speedway. This is his main track or in some circles his home track.

He and his son, Nicholas both have cars, in different divisions. According to the elder Coffman, racing is in his blood. It was sort of handed down to from from his parents. With plenty of pride he mentioned that his mother was a track champion in New Mexico for eight years. Coffman said, “Everybody in my family races or has raced”

According to Coffman, the best thing about racing is it’s like a family. Even though they are competitors on the track, they will make sure everyone is able to race by helping out if you have a problem off of it.

Coffman has two cars that he races. One is for travel and the other is for travel and home track racing. He has one car that is in the Modified Division that he races at Bakersfield. The other is a Pro Stock that he travels to different tracks to race. When he does travel, he tows his modified car with him to compete also.

His most recent travel was to Arizona at Mohave Raceway. He had a good showing as he finished 13th in the main in the Modified Division. He qualified for the Main with a second in his heat race. He would follow that up by driving his way to a third place in the Super Stocks Division. He qualified by winning his heat race.

Coffman said, “In the Modified, I got caught up in a situation I couldn’t control. It’s a building process. It’s only the second time driving the modified.”

James Booker, the owner of Reliance Fence Company is the and major sponsor for the cars. Coffman credits him with giving him the chance to race. He said, “Without him I couldn’t do this. He is the man. He is the best. I appreciate him more than he knows.”

Coffman moved to the valley after transferring jobs. He said, “My wife’s family is from here. She grew up here all her life. I’m just trying to fit in.” 

This Saturday Coffman will make a trip to Bakersfield Speedway. He is looking for a good showing. At the shop Coffman and his crew, have done a lot of work on the car. They changed some things on the setup so that they can have better success. Coffman in the pits has a crew that helps him on race day. Mike McClain, James Booker, Chris Booker, and his son Nicholas are at the ready to help where needed. His son helps when he is not in his own car.

Coffman said, “I’m pretty confident the car is going work the way I want it. In the modified it’s a matter of building trust in the car. After Mohave I have a lot of trust in it.”

N. Coffman races in the Sport Mod Division. Which is a class below his father. He has only six races under his belt, but according to his dad, “He’s picking it up pretty good.”

Prior to this Saturday’s racing, Coffman is opening the shop to anyone that wants to come see it. They will be able to see the cars, talk with the driver and the owner. They will kick off the day at 10 a.m. The shop is located behind General Plumbing in Lake Isabella. They will then load the cars at 1 p.m. and then take off for the night of racing.

It’s been rumored, well on really good authority that a large group of Kern River Valley fans plan on making the trip to Bakersfield Speedway to watch Coffman perform. When asked if there was added pressure to know this, Coffman explained, “Kind of, maybe a little bit, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. The more pressure on me, it seems the better I do. The more people that get involved, the better it is because they are enjoying themselves.” 

When he gets in the car, he was asked what his thought process was? He responded, “How to pass the guy in front of me. Study the track, study the driver in front of me and get passed him. Then go on to the next one.”

In closing, Coffman said, “Come out, support us, have fun. Any time you want to look at anything, you are more than welcome.”

Coffman has that special quality in him that he is confident in his abilities, but humble enough to know that he is not alone in this. Either way, he will continue to turn left and left, and left, and left again as he plays in the dirt and makes his way toward the finish line.

The pro stock car looks intimidating. Coffman races this car when he travels to other dirt tracks.