NASCAR Crew Member Gives Up Amish Upbringing for Life in the Pit

Reuben Kauffman on trading a horse-drawn buggy for the fast-and-furious life of pro racing.

By Will Levith / November 3, 2017 9:00 am

Reuben Kauffman’s story reads like something out of a fairy tale. Spending the first 17 years growing up on an Amish farm in rural Wisconsin with no electricity, Kauffman left behind that life and his family to chase down a dream of working in NASCAR, according to NBC Sports.

Kauffman’s now a fabricator for Chip Ganassi Racing, helping to build cars for NASCAR stars like Kyle Larson and Jamie McMurray.

It’s amazing to look at the journey Kauffman had to take to get to where he did. During his childhood in the Amish community, transportation was either by bicycle or horse-and-buggy. His NASCAR dream was sparked by listening to a radio he smuggled into his house—a piece of technology frowned upon by the Amish. The skills he learned to work on NASCAR cars were learned while working in his family’s cabinet shop.

When he left his family, he had no money and pedaled 30 miles on a bicycle in 20-degree weather to live with a cousin.