Asphalt racing fans in North Georgia finally have something to get excited about. After a long hiatus, there will be oval racing this Saturday in Braselton, Georgia at the track now known as Lanier Raceplex.
It feels like it’s been 20 years since the track went dark. Prior to that, the once-proud Lanier track was a staple for Pro Late Model and Super Late Model events.
Lanier was a dirt surface in 1982 before going to pavement in 1987. Even in those earlier years, the World of Outlaws and the Busch All-Stars Series made strops at the track.
The NASCAR series came with what is now the Xfinity Series and the All American Challenge Series, Goody’s Dash and a host of others.
The ASA National Tour and the ARCA Menards Series each took their shots at Lanier. In addition, the weekly racing show was some of the best around as local heros would transition into regional stars and win big events like the Snowball Derby and the All American 400.
The track had its own series with the Super Six Series which was a feeder system for up-and-coming drivers like Chase Elliott, Bubba Pollard, Casey Roderick and several others.
This writer’s first memory of Lanier was a Saturday of Speed event where the Georgia Asphalt Series teamed up with the Pro All Stars Series for big night of racing. That event was rained out and lightning struck the scoreboard.
On Sunday, we got to see 57 Late Models battle between the two races. The GAS Pro Late Model race finished with 19 of 31 cars on the lead laps. That’s how racy the track was.
I was lucky enough to attend both PASS races at Lanier and it will be fun to see them return to the track this Saturday.
From 2009 to 2011, the annual CRA SpeedFest event was held at Lanier bringing in large crowds despite the cold weather. The Super Late Model / Pro Late Model double is still held in Georgia today at Watermelon Capital Speedway.
This weekend is about more than one race. It’s a chance to get racing going again in North Georgia. In years past this was the healthiest region for Pro Late Models and the state of Georgia once opened a season with 40 100-lap races for the crate cars.
In 2019, we will get one race and hope for more in 2020.
The history books will be open this weekend to add another chapter at Lanier. Let’s not let this be the last.
Visit www.proallstarsseries.com for more information on attending the event. If you’re not in the area this weekend, a live pay-per-view broadcast will be available on Speed51. For more information, visit www.speed51.com/Lanier.
-Story by: Elgin Traylor, Speed51 Southeast Correspondent
-Photo credit: PASS