The Dale Jr. Download

393 - Randy Lanier (Part Two): On The Run

393 - Randy Lanier (Part Two): On The Run

The Dale Jr. Download - August 4, 2022 - 1:20:29

What do you get when you combine a drug smuggling enterprise straight out of an episode of Miami Vice with the high-dollar sports car racing world of the 1980s? You get the story of Randy Lanier, and on this week’s episode he joins Dale Earnhardt Jr. and co-host Mike Davis to tell it.At one time a top prospect in American motorsports, Lanier made headlines when he was indicted in 1986 for operating a multi-million dollar drug distribution effort responsible for bringing over 300 tons of marijuana to the United States from Columbia. Just a handful of months before he was Rookie of the Year in the 70th running of the Indianapolis 500.Originally born in rural Lynchburg, Virginia, Lanier and his family of seven moved to Hollywood, Florida when he was 13. The sunny beach lifestyle was captivating for young Randy, and was soon introduced to the thriving marijuana subculture of the 1960s. His father, who worked as a draftsman, was concerned about his seemingly wayward lifestyle and got him a job in construction. But, due to his longhaired appearance, fellow construction workers began asking Randy if he knew where to buy marijuana, and his stint in drug dealing began.Randy shares a frightening story of getting robbed at gun-point during a sale, which temporarily took him away from Florida to Colorado. It was there he met a guru, who invited him to an ashram in Boulder where he learned the art of meditation, which proved to be a big part of his survival in prison as well as a cornerstone of his life today. Upon returning to Florida, Randy continued on his new path until tragically losing his brother Glen in a motorcycle accident. The event was catastrophic for the Lanier family, and Randy explains it spun him out, back into the familiarity of selling marijuana. While he may not have realized it at the time, Lanier’s eventual career in motorsports was implanted in the back of his mind, thanks in part to listening to the Indianapolis 500 broadcast on the radio when he was a young boy at his family farm in Virginia. Randy recalls a story from the late 1970s when he was attending a car show at the Miami Beach Convention Center and noticed a SCCA-sponsored booth. He picked up a pamphlet and eventually made the call to inquire about becoming a licensed driver. Soon after, he purchased his first race car: a 1957 Porsche 256. After renting out a small warehouse to be his shop and preparing the car for racing action, he entered his first amateur contest at West Palm Beach Speedway in 1980. As legend would have it, he won. From there he rapidly progressed through the sports car ranks, arriving at the headlining IMSA GT circuit. After spending a few seasons in borrowed rides with minimal results, he decided to take matters into his own hands and form his own racing team. But, to win on a consistent basis required a large bank roll, and so the two roads of Lanier’s life intersected. At this point, he had some experience with off-shore drug smuggling. At age 19 he used some of his dealing profits to purchase a 27-foot speed boat, initially intended to be a frivolous expenditure for thrill-seeking. He soon began traveling to the Bahamas to bring in loads of marijuana from awaiting motherships. In order to fund his newly formed Blue Thunder Racing team, Lanier expanded from speed boats to fishing boats, then tug boats and finally a full-on barge. The results were instant, and in 1984 he won the IMSA Championship. The next year, he took on CART racing with the intention of heading to Indianapolis. The transition proved difficult, and although he had a successful debut in 1986 in the 500, a devastating crash at Michigan a few weeks later effectively ended his racing career. As it turns out, his drug smuggling efforts caught up with him and soon after he was indicted.

Previous Episode

392 - Randy Lanier: Speed Funded By Weed

August 3, 2022 - 2:24:48
What do you get when you combine a drug smuggling enterprise straight out of an episode of Miami Vice with the high-dollar sports car...

Next Episode

394 - Ty Gibbs: Growing Up Gibbs

August 9, 2022 - 2:25:43
In just a few short seasons, Ty Gibbs went from winning in the periphery of the stock car world to becoming one of the most polarizing...

About The Show

NASCAR’s 15-time Most Popular Driver and winner of two Daytona 500s, Dale Earnhardt Jr., hosts his very own podcast, The Dale Jr Download on Dirty Mo Media. Earnhardt and co-host Mike Davis raise the bar with unparalleled perspective, candid commentary, and fascinating, first-person insight into the life of a broadcaster, celebrated racer.