Randy Lanier


Record updated 22-Sep-06

Randy Lanier is a former race car driver from Florida in the United States of America. He drove in 18 CART races in 1985 and 1986. Winner of the 1984 IMSA GTP title he was also 1986 Rookie of The Year at Indy. Currently serving a life term without parole in Leavenworth Federal Penitentiary for importing and distributing over 300 tons of Colombian marijuana.

Randy Lanier
Randy Thomas Lanier is a former race car driver from Florida in the United States of America. He drove in 18 CART races in 1985 and 1986.

Lanier, prior to that, made his debut at the 24 Hours of Daytona in 1982 driving for Preston Henn, the owner of Swap Shop, then at Lanier's fifth race at the 6 hours of Mosport, he would enter his own team, racing a March Engineering82G Chevrolet and score his first podium finish with a third.

Lanier renamed his team the "Blue Thunder Racing Team" in 1983 with Marty Hinze and for the following season was joined by brothers Don and Bill Whittington driving. The Whittingtons raced aircraft prior to cars, had won the 1979 24 hours of Le Mans in a Porsche 935, and were the owners of the Road Atlanta circuit.

The Blue Thunder team, who was rumored to be named after the drug indictment boat that was built by Apache Performance Boats which he was connected to, competed at IMSA GTP category for prototype cars, despite having lack of sponsorship and being a wholly independent team, unsupported by March Engineering. Despite having an adequate form two years previously finishing 16th and 28th consecutively, would surprise everybody in the championship by beating the heavily sponsored and factory supported oppositions from the likes of the Group 44 Racing Jaguar XJR-5 and Löwenbräu sponsored Holbert Racing Porsche 962 taking the 1984 GTP title as driver along with the Most Improved Driver award. Another reason for success was the fact the team employed the services of talented engine builder Ryan Falconer.

Lanier disbanded the team after the 1985 season to concentrate on his CART Indycar career, driving for Arciero Racing. For the following season, Lanier would also drive for Joest Racing for both Daytona 24 Hours and Miami. After a poor form in the previous year, Lanier would improve his form by finishing six of his nine races he entered including his 10th place finish at the Indianapolis 500, winning the Rookie of The Year honor.

That along with the CART successes as a rookie driver would raise suspicion with the FBI, who like many racing teams who were involved in motorsports during the 70's and 80's were investigating Laniers other sideline. Lanier along with Ben Kramer, owner of Apache boats, ran a multi million dollar drugs empire between 1982 and 1986 when the arrest took place. Kramer, was the great-nephew and one of the putative heirs of the top boss of the U.S. crime syndicate, Meyer Lansky.

He was convicted of importing and distributing over 300 tons of Colombian marijuana and was due to be sentenced when he disappeared. He was arrested eight months later in Puerto Rico. Lanier had also cut a deal after his arrest for conspiracy to distribute pot, but at the last minute refused to testify against Jack Kramer, father of Ben.

That along with the arrest of John Paul Sr. led to nickname to the IMSA organization as "International Marijuana Smugglers Association".

Randy Lanier received a life sentence in 4 October 1988 without parole sentence under the newly enacted RICO laws along with his partner Ben Kramer for their lack of cooperation. The Whittington brothers who were also involved received a lighter sentence. Lanier filed an appeal based on the fact that later RICO convictions were not nearly as lengthy, but lost the appeal. He has remained in Leavenworth Federal Penitentiary since imprisonment. His subsequent appeals have all been denied. After dubious suspicion of a planned escape in 1996, he spent three years in solitary confinement.

Lanier's wife, Maria De La Luz Maggi-Lanier, was sentenced on April 30, 1993 to nine years in prison for money laundering. She pleaded guilty in September the year previously to conspiracy and obstruction.

Lanier nowadays spends most of his time working out, playing chess in the maximum security unit and corresponds to his pen pals.