Lanier was a typical southern dirt track when it opened in 1982. Five years later the 3/8-mile oval was paved, and its moderately-banked wide-open turns and fairly short straightaways made NASCAR-sanctioned Lanier National Speedway a good test for the track’s weekly racing divisions, among them Pro Late Models, open-wheel Modifieds and Legends Cars.
Located across the highway from the Road Atlanta road course in Braselton, GA, in the track’s heydays it was not unusual to find world renowned road-racers scattered among the throngs watching the intense racing at Lanier, no doubt wondering if they could hack it out there running wheel-to-wheel, lap after lap.
Dale Earnhardt, Darrell Waltrip, Mark Martin, Jeff Gordon, Kevin Harvick, Michael Waltrip, David Stremme, Bobby Labonte and road-racer — and occasional NASCAR driver — Andy Lally all competed at Lanier before the track suspended its weekly racing program following the 2011 season. Lanier National Speedway was purchased by another road racer — Jim Downing — and renamed Lanier Raceplex in 2014. However, plans to reopen the facility as a race track/stadium concert venue have yet to bear fruit. In the meantime, iRacers can still race on a digital version of Lanier while waiting for the hills of Braselton to, once again, echo with the sounds of Georgia-style short track racing.