The return of Super Late Model racing to North Georgia’s Lanier Raceplex has sparked excitement among many in the short track community on the entire eastern seaboard, as the Pro All Stars Series prepares for Saturday’s Lanier National 200. Not surprisingly, one of the local boys, Kyle Plott, is brimming with excitement for the long-awaited return to this well regarded race track.
The 3/8-mile oval is the very oval where the Marietta, GA driver got his start in Late Model racing, a career which now has produced wins in the Southeast SLM ranks in the past two years, and has Plott regarded as one to watch in every race he enters.
“I’m definitely excited for it, Lanier has been shut down for years. I first got into a Late Model at Lanier and raced a full season there. Going back there is going to be really cool, I miss racing there and at Gresham. Just being close to home, racing near all of my family is great, and I’m excited for more,” Plott told Speed51.
In fact, Plott’s racing roots at Lanier run even deeper then his time spent in Late Models.
“I raced Bandoleros there a little bit, running restrictor plates on those things around there. Raced Legends Cars there a lot, they had the Nationals one year at Lanier. I think after I won the Big Money 100 at Charlotte, I put money into a Late Model, and that’s when I started racing Late Models. Lot of history for my family at that track, maybe we can make some more.”
While most tracks that have not hosted racing for a number of years usually come with unkempt racing surfaces that have been patched together, Lanier is just the opposite. With the entire racing surface and infield being repaved in the past three years to support a number of motorsports activities from go-kart rentals to drifting, it will have drivers who raced on it in the past regarding it almost as a new track.
“Lanier was pretty worn out, and you really struggled on getting turned on getting the car to turn and getting bite off that you need. It’s going to be interesting to see what the new pavement does and however they set up the walls on the inside. It’ll be interesting, we don’t have many tracks like Lanier. It was its own beast back in the day, have to see if it’s close to what it was or if it’s just something different.”
Despite making his debut in the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series last Friday at ISM Raceway (AZ) and grappling with Snowball Derby preparation, Plott feels he and his team have a good handle heading into the impending race weekend.
“We were actually prepared this time, got a lot of stuff done before I went off to Phoenix. We still got a little bit left to do, we also went down to Pensacola to test this week. Feel pretty good about our Derby car, and we’re trying some stuff on our Lanier car. We’ll go back, spend the whole day in the shop, go over everything, and make sure we are good to go for Lanier, and see how it ends up.”
With his focus now squarely on getting fine tuned in the practice sessions, Plott is looking forward to taking on what is usually a mixed bag of opponents. From some familiar Southern foes, to taking on the PASS North drivers, many whom Plott has never faced before in competition.
“It’ll be interesting to see how they race and race around each other. We’ll just feel them out for the first 100 laps or so, and go from there. It’s never a good deal to tear up a car or something like that, so whatever happens I plan on bringing this car as a backup down to the Derby. It’s good to race new people, everyone races a little different depending on where they’re from, looking forward to see how these Northern guys race.”
Eager to defend his Peach State pride, Plott is looking to come full circle with a race win this Saturday. But it won’t be just for himself, but for those who helped him to get his start more than 10 years ago.
“It would be really cool; I was almost the one to win the last Late Model race at Lanier, but I missed it by a car length. But, the goal is to win that race, and bring that trophy back to the shop. It would be great for my family, especially how much we did race back there in the day.”
-Story by: Connor Sullivan, Speed51 Northeast Editor – Twitter: @Connor51CT
-Photo credit: Speed51