"The first 10 years of racing, I owned my own cars," he said. "We bought a sprint car one time but it wasn't very good and I was doing this on my own money. It took me a while to learn about the sport."
His first race car, which helped get him to get noticed by car owners, was a Travis Craft that used to be owned by legendary car owner Al Hamilton.
"That was around 1975 when I got into my first good sprint car," he said. "I didn't get my first ride with a car owner until around 1980."
Kauffman used to work at the speedway.
"I took tickets and sold cushions for 10 or 15 cents for people to sit on in the grandstand even before I started to race here," he said.
Kauffman's wife Cathy runs the novelty stand at the track while daughter Rebecca and son Chase both work for the state.
"I'm sure I'll go back and watch from time to time, I've never seen a race from the stands before, it will be something new to see a race from the stands," he said.
The track honored Kauffman recently and named its family section in his honor.
"That was very, nice," he said. "It's hard to believe that they would do something like that."
Reflecting on his career, Kauffman, who was born and raised on a farm, said, "If I had not started out by myself, I would not have gotten into a position for someone else to see me drive. People forget that the only way I could get started was to have my own car and it took a lot of money, time and hard work to get things going and to keep things going until someone else saw me and wanted me to drive for them. We didn't have a lot of money back then and we don't have a lot of money today."