BRASELTON -- The economy has affected many industries over the last four years, but none more then short track racing.
Short tracks across the country have been closing at an alarming rate and Lanier National Speedway is joining those that have already experienced this devastation. After 30 years, Lanier is having its last weekly racing event on Saturday.
Over the years Lanier has been one of short track racing's premier facilities. It was the home to NASCAR drivers such as David Ragan, Reed Sorenson and Joey Logano. Some of NASCAR's greats have graced Lanier's oval, including Bill Elliott, Dale Earnhardt, Michael and Daryl Waltrip, Bobby Labonte and Jimmy Spencer. Lanier has always been regarded as one of the nation's most challenging tracks. Those who have won at Lanier have always stated, "if you can win at Lanier, you can win anywhere."
It was originally owned by Bud Lundsford, who at one time held the record for all-time short track wins. His daughter, Debbie Lunsford-Love, was also one of the first women nationally to ever win a short track championship at Lanier.
Lanier has hosted such notable touring series as the NASCAR Nationwide Series, ARCA Racing Series, ASA Racing Series, the NASCAR All Pro Racing Series and the Southern All Star Racing Series. Lanier was also the only short track in Georgia which held the NASCAR Weekly Racing Series for 27 of its 30 years.
Donnie Clack, the track's owner over the last six years, has worked hard at keeping up the traditions started at Lanier back in the 70s. But, with the rising gas prices and the rising costs for running even a small race team, Donnie has seen the car counts drop drastically and along with it Lanier's fanbase over the last three years.
Clack says that he will continue to have some special events at Lanier during the early part of the year. These will include the Ice Cold Shriner's Bowl benefiting Shriners charities and Speedfest -- which usually brings in some of NASCAR's top drivers looking to get a leg up on the beginning of the racing season. The track will also offer other events such as Friday Night Drifting which has had moderate success over the last year, but the staple of what has made racing what it is today, Saturday night racing, will be gone.
Go to www.lanierspeedway.com to find out more information of what will be an historic event this Saturday.