When Reid Lanpher pulled into victory lane at Oxford Plains Speedway on October 19, very few people realized that it would be one of his final races behind the wheel of a race car. Only Lanpher and a few of his closest supporters knew that the 21-year-old driver planned to step away from racing one week later.
On Tuesday night, Lanpher confirmed to Speed51 that he is selling his family-run Super Late Model team and stepping away from racing to focus on the family-owned business.
“In a nutshell, this was a big and hard decision to make,” Lanpher said. “It’s hard to even describe all the scenarios. In short, I have a lot of goals professionally with the family business and personally some stuff that I’d like to accomplish in life. With the expenses and a lot of other things taken into account for the racing, we decided that we’re going to take a break for right now. I’m not sure if we’ll get back into it or not.
“We’ve had an unbelievable run,” he continued. “I’m super thankful for the opportunities that have been given by my sponsors, my dad, my crew and everything that goes into it. If there was a good time to get out, it was now. It was definitely not an easy decision. I wouldn’t say I’m thrilled about it, but it was definitely my choice.”
Shortly after Lanpher posted his complete operation for sale on Facebook, crew chief Jason Ricker revealed that he will be accepting a new position with Crazy Horse Racing.
“It honestly worked out amazing for Jason and I,” Lanpher said. “He had a great opportunity with Crazy Horse and it’s a perfect scenario for him closer to home with an up-and-coming company. It’s right up his alley. He had that opportunity come up and we sat down a little while ago. The transition worked out pretty smooth for both of our scenarios I guess.”
In recent years, Lanpher and Ricker combined forces to become one of the most successful Late Model teams in the Northeast. Highlights on Lanpher’s resume include a pair of NASCAR Whelen All-American Series state championships at Beech Ridge Motor Speedway, five PASS North victories, and two runner-up finishes in the prestigious Oxford 250.
It is those memories and his desire to be behind the wheel of a race car that make his decision to step away very difficult. With each passing day, the fact that he doesn’t have plans to race next season begins to set in more and more, and it doesn’t get easier with time.
“Just posting the stuff online today and seeing all the responses, the people and everything, reality sits in a little bit. I’m sure that will continue and take a little bit of a toll on me mentally. I guess I’m going into it expecting that.”
Moving forward, Lanpher is ready to completely step away from short track racing. He plans to still attend races when his schedule allows; however, he will be experiencing those races from a completely different view.
“I’m sure I’ll always be involved, as far as going to the track on occasion and whatnot,” Lanpher said. “As of right now, I have absolutely nothing lined up for next year. No plans. It would have to be a crazy unique opportunity to work with some of the stuff I have going on with the business. In short, we’re done-done as of right now.”
Professionally, Lanpher will set his sights on taking over more responsibilities with the family business. Already working as the manager of the Scott’s Recreation location in Turner, he hopes to continue taking over more of the day-to-day operations for a company that his father Scott has been running for quite some time.
“My dad has worked 60 to 80 hours a week for the last 30-plus years of his life, probably more than that,” Lanpher explained. “I’m really looking to take a little bigger step and commitment towards running the whole company and relieving him of some of those duties so that he’ll be able to retire. The guy is just unbelievable. He just works and works and works, and he loves it. He’s given me the world of opportunities provided by the company and I owe it back to him and the business to see what I can do to continue the growth. The goal is to take over the company completely one day and I guess this is the first step to make it possible.”
Though Lanpher has listed the entire race team for sale, he isn’t quite ready to get rid of his helmet and fire suit. Like any racer, the itch to get behind the wheel will always be there.
“I’ll definitely always have that around. You never know,” Lanpher stated. “We have no plans right now. We’re technically done-done. I don’t want to be one of those guys that dabbles in it and doesn’t have much fun or success because of how unstructured the opportunities are. I don’t want to be that guy, but I see myself getting very tempted at times because I love to race.”
-Story by: Brandon Paul, Speed51 Editor – Twitter: @Brandon_Paul51
-Photo credit: Speed51Photos.com