Lanier National Speedway has announced it will end its weekly racing program after almost 30 years in Braselton.
"We've tried a lot of different things, but I'm tired of fighting the battle week in and week out and I don't want to do it anymore," said Donnie Clack, who has owned the speedway for the past nine years. "The economy is a big part of it, and we can't keep up with what's going on at other tracks."
The Fourth Annual James Garrison Memorial Race set for Sept. 24 will be the final weekly event held at the track. Organizers are calling the event "the Final Showdown," and plan to have track founder Bud Lunsford in attendance for the ceremonies.
"We just want to show our appreciation to everybody who has been a part of the track over the years," Clack said. "We wantit to be a celebration of a 30-year tradition."
While the Sept. 24 race will be the last of the weekly events, the previously scheduled Ice Cold Shriner's Bowl will still be held in January, and 2012 Speedfest will go on as planned.
The track will not be closed, but the Lanier Speedway events that have been a staple of life in Hall County the last 30 years are coming to an end. Clack said he is looking at the possibility of leasing the track for other events, like rodeos or concerts.
The 3/8-mile asphalt facility in South Hall has been struggling through financial difficulties in recent months. In May, Clack called a meeting of drivers and fans to lay out a plan for changes meant to salvage the season. They included reduced payouts when rain was in the forecast, and a new rain-or-shine race policy.
As late as July, Clack was hopeful that the 2012 season could still be held. Those plans were laid to rest Thursday.
Lanier National Speedway opened in 1982 and for years was a hot ticket on Saturday nights. After being paved in 1987, it hosted NASCAR Nationwide Series races (then know as the Busch Grand National Series) from 1988-92.
Lately, though crowds and interest have dwindled, putting the establishment in finanical peril.