27 May 2022
Randy Thomas Lanier (born 1954) was a professional race car driver and a convicted drug trafficker in the United States. He is best known for his racing efforts in the mid-80s, including winning the 1984 IMSA Camel GT title for the wholly independent Blue Thunder Racing team and for being arrested for marijuana smuggling in 1988 to support said racing efforts.
In 1978, Mr Lanier began his foray into racing in a beaten-up old 1957 Porsche 356 Speedster which he bought with the money he had earned from drug smuggling. Shortly before his racing career, he purchased a boat and began trafficking marijuana.
However, it became clear that Lanier had a knack for racing as he roared past other drivers faster than most would ever dare travel. Racing is a sport meant only for the most daring individuals, so Randy excelled at it.
Randy won race after race, beating teams like Ford and Porsche, with the latter holding a particular disdain toward his brutish American ways. Eventually, Ford approached Randy and asked him to leave his current team, Blue Thunder Racing, funded by his drug operation and amusingly named after a Government anti-drug task force, and join them at the Ford Racing team.
While the offer was tempting and a way out of his life of crime, Lanier eventually turned them down, citing loyalty to his friends as the reason. The very same friends that eventually snitched on him.
Rumour has it; that Ford Racing, resentful of Randy’s decision, may have tipped the FBI off regarding Randy’s other ‘business interests’.
Following that, his life quickly untangled, and the Fed’s caught up with him. Sentenced to a lifetime prison sentence, he was 27 years into his punishment for drug and fraud offences when the Obama administration took pity and released him in 2014 for being a nonviolent offender.
Today, ironically, Lanier is the ambassador of a medical marijuana company, which is the best ending this story could have.
Determined to get back onto the track, Randy still loves driving and regularly teaches the ins and outs of racing while trying to keep up with his old skills.
In prison, he learnt to paint and practice Yoga and Tai Chi.
Oh, by the way, he has also forgiven the friends that squealed on him.