By Clayton Chaney
Pagosa resident Wayne Alexander has been honoring our fallen heroes over the past few months with his 1988 Porsche 944 race car.
Alexander competes in the National Auto Sports Association (NASA), in its Rocky Mountain region.
On May 22 and 23, Alexander competed in the region’s Fallen Heroes race in Pueblo, at which he took first place in his classification.
He races in the 944 spec classification, in which drivers use Porsche 944 or Porsche 942 models from years 1983 to 1988.
As a retired police officer who spent 45 years in law enforcement, Alexander was honored to pay his respects to veterans and law enforcement officers who lost their lives in the line of duty.
“It means a lot to me,” Alexander said.
Alexander knew from a young age that he had two passions in life: to become a police officer and race cars.
Alexander began his law enforcement career at the age of 13 with the Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO) in southern Florida.
He entered the CCSO’s youth explorer program, which aims “to educate and involve the community’s youth in police operations, to educate them in law enforcement functions and to interest them in law enforcement careers,” the CCSO website states.
By the age of 14, Alexander had become the president of the CCSO explorer program and, by age 17, he entered the department’s auxiliary program.
From there, he entered into the department’s reserve deputy program and became fully certified as a patrol deputy by age 19.
Alexander credits his inspiration to joining law enforcement so early on to the television series “1-Adam-12,” a drama show about two Los Angeles Police Department officers as they patrol the streets of Los Angeles.
“That’s the only thing I watched when I was growing up and I decided early that I was going to be a cop,” Alexander said.
Alexander spent 35 years working with the CCSO, moving his way up the ranks from a patrol deputy to a major crime detective, to a corporal, and then to a sergeant, to watch commander and then ended his tenure as part of the department’s K-9 unit.
During his time in Florida, Alexander opened a hot rod shop where he worked on custom cars and also raced.
After spending 35 years with the CCSO, Alexander became a safety technician for NASCAR for three years, where he inspected cars before races.
He explained that he has been racing cars ever since he was about 10 years old and said, “It’s in my blood.”
After leaving Florida, Alexander relocated to Pagosa Springs, where he worked for the Southern Ute Indian Tribe as a federal investigator for 10 years.
After that, Alexander retired and opened another hot rod shop in Pagosa Springs with his son, Brice, called RPM Performance Motorsports.
Alexander, his son and his staff work on a variety of custom hot rods.
He explained that he was approached by another local Pagosa resident, Mark Weiler, who sponsored Alexander and helped “get things going” with the spec 944 races.
Alexander explained that he came up with the idea to dress his car up with decals honoring the fallen heroes for the Memorial Day race in Pueblo.
He added a scale of justice emblem on the roof of his car and intended to put all of the names of fallen heroes in 2021 on the hood of his car.
He explained that when he first started to put the names of all of the law enforcement officers that lost their lives in the line of duty so far this year on the hood of the car, there were 116 names. Two days later, that number had risen to 149 fallen officers.
“That was overwhelming,” Alexander said.
So, he decided to honor the fallen officers and soldiers with a thin blue line on the back window.
On the front windshield, he placed a decal honoring fallen officer Eric Talley, who was killed in the active shooter incident in Boulder on March 22.
Alexander explained he intends on running his setup, honoring the fallen heroes, all the way to the NASA national championships this September in Daytona, Fla.
Alexander’s next race will be NASA’s Summer Showdown event on July 10 and July 11, again in Pueblo.