Randy Lanier

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Randy Lanier
Nationality United States
Born (1954-09-22) September 22, 1954 (age 59)
Lynchburg, Virginia
CART
Years active 1985-1986
Teams Arciero Racing
Starts 18
Best finish 6th in 1986
Previous series
1981-1986 IMSA GT Championship
Championship titles
1984 1
Awards
1986 Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year
24 Hours of Le Mans career
Participating years 1982
Teams NART/T-Bird Racing
Best finish 49th
Class wins 0

Randy Thomas Lanier (born 22 September 1954, Lynchburg, Virginia) is a former race car driver and convicted drug trafficker from the United States of America. He is notable for winning the 1984 IMSA Camel GT title as a wholly independent team, despite facing up to well funded and supported oppositions and the team's questionable source of income.

Personal life[edit]

Lanier was born in Virginia. At age 14, he moved to South Florida. In 1976 he married his childhood sweetheart. They welcomed a daughter, Brandie in 1980 and a son Glen in 1987, who was named after Lanier's younger brother who was killed in a motorcycle accident at the age of 16. He has other siblings as well.[1]

In 1986, Lanier became romantically involved with Maria De La Luz Maggi,.[1]

Motorsports career[edit]

Lanier began his motorsport career in 1978, following a meeting with the Sports Car Club of America at an auto show taking place in Miami Beach Convention Center on how to make a start in racing, he brought himself a 1957 Porsche 356 Speedster, where he used it to compete in E Production at the SCCA Southeast Regional Championship, eventually winning the class in 1980.[2]

He made his IMSA Camel GT series debut at the 1981 Daytona Finale, partnering Dale Whittington, finishing 30th. The following season at the 24 Hours of Daytona, he was approached by a crew member for the North American Racing Team to fill in for Janet Guthrie, who was unable to race due to illness. Partnering with Bob Wollek and Edgar Dören, the trio ran in 3rd place for 18 hours until their run ended with gearbox failure.[2]

He was invited by the same team to partner with Preston Henn and Denis Morin at the 24 Hours of Le Mans,[2] retiring after they ran out of fuel.[3] At Lanier's fifth race at the 6 Hours of Mosport, he brought an ex-works March 82G Chevrolet, scoring his first podium finish with a third, and then another at the Mid-Ohio 6 Hours.[4]

In 1984, after driving for a variety of teams in the previous seasons, including a 2nd at the 24 Hours of Daytona, he formed his own team with Bill Whittington and crew chief Keith Leyton consisting of two March GTPs.[2]

Earlier in the season, Whittington led the season, allowing Lanier to take over after the Charlotte 500 km. With Whittington's help, who taught Lanier how to set up the car and driving,[5] he took six wins, enough to score a driver's championship with one race to remain along with the Most Improved Driver award, despite having lack of sponsorship and being a wholly independent team, unsupported by March Engineering.[5][6] Another reason for success was the fact the team employed the services of talented engine builder Ryan Falconer, who rebuilt the engines after each race.[5]

Lanier began to focus on his Indycar career, driving for Arciero Racing, intending to drive full-time for the 1986 season.[2] For the following season, Lanier would also drive for Joest Racing for both Daytona 24 Hours and Miami. After a poor form in the previous year, Lanier would improve his form by finishing six of the nine races he entered including his 10th place finish at the Indianapolis 500, winning the Rookie of The Year honor. Prior to his arrest, he drove in 18 CART races in 1985 and 1986.

Drug conviction and imprisonment[edit]

Occupation race car driver
Criminal penalty
life without parole
Criminal status
In custody at MCFP Springfield
Spouse(s) None
Children 2, Brandie and Glen
Motive criminal enterprise
Conviction(s) engaging in a Continuing Criminal Enterprise and conspiring to distribute more than 1,000 pounds of marijuana

His growing up in Florida during his youth has been suggested as a potential precursor to his involvement in the drug trade in 1978[1][2]

As Lanier defeated the heavily sponsored and factory supported oppositions of the Group 44 Racing Jaguar XJR-5 and Löwenbräu sponsored Holbert Racing Porsche 962, the sudden racing successes began to raise questions about the team's source of finance[5] and thus Lanier was under investigation from the FBI.[6] Lanier along with Eugene Fischer[7] and Ben Kramer, owner of Apache boats; and twelve others[8] ran a multi million dollar drugs empire between 1982 and 1986 when the arrest took place.[9] Kramer was the great-nephew and one of the putative heirs of the top boss of the U.S. crime syndicate, Meyer Lansky.[10]

Many of these narcotics was distributed in Illinois, therefore he was indicted in the Southern District of Illinois in January 1987.[1] He was convicted of importing and distributing over 300 tons of Colombian marijuana,[11][12] believed to be worth $68 million by prosecuters[13] and was due to be sentenced when he disappeared.[14] He was believed to had fled to Puerto Rico[15] but was later arrested in Antigua on October 26.[1] Lanier had also cut a deal after his arrest for conspiracy to distribute pot, but at the last minute refused to testify against Jack Kramer, father of Ben.

Randy Lanier and his partner Ben Kramer received life without parole sentences on 4 October 1988[11] under the newly enacted Continuing Criminal Enterprise statute (also known as the "Super Drug Kingpin" law), owing to their refusal to cooperate with the prosecution. The Whittington brothers who were also involved received a lighter sentence. Lanier filed an appeal based on the fact that later RICO convictions were not nearly as lengthy, but lost the appeal.[16] He was initial placed in Leavenworth Federal Penitentiary and was later transferred to the higher security United States Penitentiary I in Coleman.[17] His subsequent appeals have all been denied. He now uses his available spare time exercising, playing chess and answering any letters sent by race fans[18]. As Lanier is no longer eligible for parole, he is currently petitioning to get a presidential pardon.[2]

Maggi married Lanier on August 31, 1990 at Oxford Federal Correctional Institution in Wisconsin.[1]

Lanier's wife was sentenced on April 30, 1993 to nine years in prison for money laundering. She pleaded guilty in September the year previously to conspiracy and obstruction.[12] She later successfully appealed to have it reduced from 108 months to 97.[19]

She was released in 1999: by that time she was no longer married to Lanier.[20]

Motorsports career results[edit]

American open–wheel racing results[edit]

(key)

CART[edit]

Year Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 Rank Points
1985 Arciero Racing LBH
24
INDY
DNQ
MIL
POR
22
MEA
22
CLE
20
MCH
ROA
14
POC
MDO
20
SAN
MCH
LAG
13
PHX
17
MIA
15
41st 0
1986 Arciero Racing PHX
11
LBH
13
INDY
10
MIL
9
POR
20
MEA
9
CLE
6
TOR
9
MCH
POC
MDO
SAN
MCH
ROA
LAG
PHX
MIA
20th 21

Indy 500 results[edit]

Complete 24 Hours of Le Mans results[edit]

Year Class No Tyres Car Team Co-Drivers Laps Pos. Class
Pos.
1982 GTX 73 D Ferrari 512BB/LM
Ferrari 4.9L Flat-12
United States NART/T-Bird Racing United States Preston Henn
France Denis Morin
43 49th 10th

Complete IMSA GT results[edit]

Year Entrant Class Chassis Engine 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 Rank Points
1981 Whittington Bros. GTX Porsche 935 K3 Porsche 3.0L Turbo F6 DAY
SEB
ATL
LA
MON
LRO
MOH
BRN
DAY2
SEP
POR
MOS
RAM
ATL2
POC
DAY3
30
76th 0
1982 North American Racing Team GTP Ferrari 512BB/LM Ferrari 4.9L F12 DAY
Ret
SEB
ATL
LA
MON
CHR
MOH
LRO
DAY2
BRN
SEP
POR
MOS
RAM
MOH
ATL2
POC
DAY3
16th 42
T-Bird Swap Shop Porsche 935 K3 Porsche 3.0L Turbo F6 DAY
SEB
Ret
ATL
LA
MON
CHR
Ret
MOH
LRO
DAY2
BRN
SEP
POR
MOS
RAM
MOH
ATL2
POC
DAY3
March Racing March 83G Chevrolet 5.7L V8 DAY
SEB
ATL
LA
MON
CHR
MOH
LRO
DAY2
BRN
SEP
POR
MOS
3
RAM
6
MOH
3
ATL2
Ret
POC
Ret
DAY3
1983 Motorsports Marketing GTP March 83G Chevrolet 5.7L V8 DAY
2
MGP
SEB
ATL
LA
MON
CHR
Ret
LRO
MOH
DAY2
BRN
SEP
POR
MOS
Ret
RAM
POC
DAY3
28th 23
Marty Hinze[21] March 82G Chevrolet 5.7L V8 DAY
MGP
SEB
Ret
ATL
LA
MON
CHR
LRO
MOH
DAY2
BRN
SEP
POR
MOS
RAM
Ret
POC
DAY3
Porsche 935 K3 Porsche 3.0L Turbo F6 DAY
MGP
SEB
ATL
LA
MON
CHR
LRO
MOH
DAY2
BRN
SEP
POR
MOS
RAM
POC
DAY3
Ret
1984 Blue Thunder Racing Team GTP March 83G Chevrolet 5.7L V8 DAY
Ret
MGP
DNS
SEB
2
ATL
2
LA
MON
CHR
LRO
MOH
WAT
POR
SEP
RAM
POC
MIH
WAT2
DAY2
1st 189
March 84G Chevrolet 5.7L V8 DAY
MGP
SEB
ATL
LA
1
MON
1
CHR
1
LRO
2
MOH
2
WAT
Ret
POR
1
SEP
7
RAM
3
POC
5
MIH
1
WAT2
1
DAY2
Ret
1985 Leon Brothers Racing GTP March 85G Porsche 3.0L Turbo F6 DAY
Ret
MGP
SEB
ATL
LA
MON
CHR
LRO
MOH
WAT
POR
SEP
RAM
6
POC
WAT2
COL
DAY2
27th 18
Blue Thunder Racing Team March 84G Chevrolet 5.7L V8 DAY
MGP
SEB
7
ATL
LA
MON
CHR
LRO
MOH
WAT
POR
SEP
RAM
POC
WAT2
COL
DAY2
5
1986 Joest Racing GTP Porsche 962 Porsche 3.0 L Turbo Flat-6 DAY
Ret
MGP
SEB
Ret
ATL
LA
MON
CHR
LRO
MOH
PBE
WAT
POR
SEP
RAM
WAT2
COL
DAY2
63rd 0

Sources[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f "United States of America, Plaintiff-appellee, v. Maria D. Maggi, Also Known As Maria D. Wolleter, Also Knownas Maria L. Maggi, Also Known As Maria M. Lanier,also Known As Maria "lucca" Lanier,defendant-appellant - 44 F.3d 478 - Justia US Court of Appeals Cases and Opinions". Cases.justia.com. Retrieved 2009-11-12. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g http://www.indycaradvocate.com/2012/04/off-course-interview-with-randy-lanier.html
  3. ^ http://www.racingsportscars.com/photo/Le_Mans-1982-06-20.html
  4. ^ http://www.johnstarkeycars.com/pages/articles/articles_13.html
  5. ^ a b c d http://www.imsahistory.com/Articles9/BlueThunderRacing.html
  6. ^ a b Prototypes: The History of the IMSA GTP Series, J. A. Martin & Ken Wells, David Bull Publishing, ISBN 1-893618-01-3
  7. ^ http://law.justia.com/cases/federal/appellate-courts/F2/955/479/447981/
  8. ^ AP (1987-10-08). "Guilty Pleas Entered by 11 In Smuggling of Marijuana - The". New York Times. Retrieved 2009-11-11. 
  9. ^ "Driver Randy Lanier Gets Life in Prison". Pqasb.pqarchiver.com. 1988-12-22. Retrieved 2009-11-11. 
  10. ^ http://books.google.com/books?id=xqnttywPs24C&pg=PA438&lpg=PA438&dq=Jack+J.+Kramer+Super+Chief+South&source=bl&ots=_Jji2NeegU&sig=b512EVrBhmIvvwCb5z-eNIciJ34&hl=en&sa=X&ei=1PoAT82FJcqp8AO0t_2ZCg&ved=0CCYQ6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q=Jack%20J.%20Kramer%20Super%20Chief%20South&f=false
  11. ^ a b "SPORTS PEOPLE: AUTO RACING; Driver Jailed - The". New York Times. 1988-12-22. Retrieved 2009-11-11. 
  12. ^ a b "Hemp News No. 6". Crrh.org. 1993-05-01. Retrieved 2009-11-11. 
  13. ^ "Article: 1989.(50th Anniversary countdown) - AutoWeek | HighBeam Research - FREE trial". Highbeam.com. 2008-03-10. Retrieved 2009-11-11. 
  14. ^ "SPORTS PEOPLE; Randy Lanier Sought - The". New York Times. 1987-02-06. Retrieved 2009-11-11. 
  15. ^ "SPORTS PEOPLE; Comings and Goings - The". New York Times. 1987-10-27. Retrieved 2009-11-11. 
  16. ^ "FindLaw: Cases and Codes". Caselaw.lp.findlaw.com. Retrieved 2009-11-11. 
  17. ^ "Federal Bureau of Prisons". Bop.gov. 2007-03-30. Retrieved 2009-11-11. 
  18. ^ http://www.oldracingcars.com/drivers/watn/?Letter=L&Category=Indy500
  19. ^ "62 F3d 1419 United States v. De La Luz Maggi". Open Jurist. Retrieved 2009-11-12. 
  20. ^ "Federal Bureau of Prisons". Bop.gov. Retrieved 2009-11-12. 
  21. ^ http://www.mecum.com/auctions/lot_detail.cfm?LOT_ID=CA0812-137568

External links[edit]

Sporting positions
Preceded by
Arie Luyendyk
Indianapolis 500
Rookie of the Year

1986
Succeeded by
Fabrizio Barbazza
Preceded by
Al Holbert
IMSA GT champion
1984
Succeeded by
Al Holbert