1986 Indy 500 Rookie of Year Randy Lanier to be paroled after 27 years in prison

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After serving 27 years of a sentence of life in prison without parole, 1986 Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year Randy Lanier will become a free man on Wednesday.

According to a report by Autoweek.com, Lanier, who reportedly financed his IndyCar career through a marijuana smuggling operation that he headed, will be paroled after nearly three decades behind bars.

Lanier just turned 60 on September 22. He’s been in prison in his home state of Florida since he was 33. He’ll be released from the Coleman Federal Correction Complex in Coleman, Florida. Officials have not given a reason as to why Lanier is being paroled when he was sentenced to a full life term when first convicted.

Lanier drove for Arciero Racing in his first and only appearance in the Indy 500 in 1986, qualifying a decent 13th and finishing a respectable 10th.

Lanier also was the 1984 IMSA Camel GT series champ.

He also competed in 18 CART races in 1985 and 1986, and finished 49th in the 1982 24 Hours of LeMans. Lanier also had significant success on various levels of sports car racing in the U.S., particularly in the Southeast part of the country.

Unfortunately, shortly after his Indy 500 debut, federal officials began investigating how Lanier was funding his racing exploits and discovered he was a large-scale pot transporter and smuggler.

Lanier was originally arrested by FBI agents for importing and distributing 300 tons of marijuana from Colombia, which officials estimated at the time to be worth $68 million. It was from there that he funded the majority of his racing operations.

He attempted to avoid prosecution and fled the U.S., only to be caught in Antigua in 1987, and sentenced to life without parole less than a year later after Lanier was found to be a “Super Drug Kingpin.”

Once released, Lanier will spend the next six months in halfway house, and reportedly has a job lined up afterward in a South Florida classic car museum, according to Autoweek.

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Starting lineup grid for IMSA Petit Le Mans: Tom Blomqvist puts MSR on pole position

Petit Le Mans lineup
IMSA
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IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar championship contender Tom Blomqvist put the Meyer Shank Racing Acura at the front of the starting lineup for the Motul Petit Le Mans at Michelin Road Atlanta.

Blomqvist turned a 1-minute, 8.55-second lap on the 2.54-mile circuit Friday to capture his third pole position for MSR this season. Earl Bamber qualified second in the No. 02 Cadillac for Chip Ganassi Racing.

Ricky Taylor was third in the No. 10 Acura of Wayne Taylor Racing, which enters Saturday’s season finale with a 19-point lead over the No. 60 of Blomqvist and Oliver Jarvis (who will be joined by Helio Castroneves) for the 10-hour race.

PETIT LE MANS STARTING GRID: Click here for the starting lineup l Lineup by car number

PETIT LE MANS: Info on how to watch

With the pole, MSR sliced the deficit to 14 points behind WTR, which will field the trio of Taylor, Filipe Albuquerque and Brendon Hartley in Saturday’s race.

“We really needed to put the car in this kind of position,” Blomqvist said. “It makes our life a little less stressful tomorrow. It would have given the No. 10 a bit more breathing space. It’s going to be a proper dogfight tomorrow. The guys gave me such a great car. It’s been fantastic this week so far, and it really came alive. I’m hugely thankful to the boys and girls at MSR for giving me the wagon today to execute my job.

“That was a big effort from me. I knew how important it was. It’s just awesome for the guys to give them some sort of reward as well. It’s always nice to be quick. If you do the pole, you know you’ve got a quick car.”

Though WTR has a series-leading four victories with the No. 10, MSR won the Rolex 24 at Daytona and has five runner-up finishes along with its three poles.

The strong performances of the ARX-05s ensure that an Acura will win the final championship in IMSA’s premier Daytona Prototype international (DPi) division, which is being rebranded as Grand Touring Prototype in the move to LMDh cars next season.

Taylor qualified third despite sliding into the Turn 5 gravel during the closing minutes of qualifying while pushing to gain points.

“Qualifying was important for points,” Taylor said. “Going into it, if we outqualified the No. 60 Meyer Shank Acura, they had a lot to lose in terms of championship points. So, we were trying to increase the gap over 20 points which would’ve made a big difference for tomorrow. We would have loved to get the pole and qualify ahead of the No. 60, but in the scheme of the points, it didn’t change a whole lot. I’m feeling good since it’s such a long race, and the No. 10 Konica Minolta Acura team does such a good job strategizing and putting us in a good position.

“I’m very confident in our lineup and our team compared to them over the course of 10 hours. I’d put my two teammates up against those guys any day. I think we are all feeling optimistic and strong for tomorrow.”

In other divisions, PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports (LMP2), Riley Motorsports (LMP3), VasserSullivan (GTD Pro) and Paul Miller Racing (GTD) captured pole positions.

The broadcast of the 10-hour race will begin Saturday at 12:10 p.m. ET on NBC, moving at 3 p.m. to USA Network.


QUALIFYING

Results

Results by class

Fastest lap by driver

Fastest lap by driver after qualifying

Fastest lap by driver and class after qualifying

Fastest lap sequence in qualifying

Best sector times in qualifying

Time cards in qualifying

PRACTICE RESULTS: Session I l Session II l Session III