Terry Eames Deserves Better Than Dishonest Labeling As He Takes On GM Role At Thompson

Terry Eames (left) and New London-Waterford Speedbowl historian Tom DiMaggio at the Speedbowl on Oct. 18, 2014

It’s the way of the world today. Voices voices, everybody has a voice. The problem is there are no rules when it comes to what people can say.

Social media, primarily Facebook, is such a powerful medium. Powerful for good, and at the same, powerful for evil.

There’s no fact checking on Facebook. There’s no magic filter on Facebook that ensures what is posted there is true. And the same goes for Twitter or other pipelines of unfettered opinion sharing.

Putting real facts behind opinion and argument these days is just something so many don’t care to do. Instead, backing up ignorantly screamed opinion with stretched truths or just flat out exaggerated lies is the most common tactic for so many using social media who are desperate to have their voice heard.

On Sept. 4 former New London-Waterford Speedbowl owner Terry Eames took over as the new general manager of the Thomspon Speedway.

Eames is a well known figure in New England short track racing circles. He spent 20 years associated with the Speedbowl, as a consultant, general manager and eventually owner.

For most around New England short track racing circles the branded in legacy of Eames at the Speedbowl is unfortunately the immense financial struggles over his last years operating the facility, and the eventual foreclosure auction of the property that took place on October 18, 2014.

Not shockingly, the news of Eames arrival at Thompson has been met with concern by many around the Connecticut short track scene.

And there’s nothing wrong with people have that unease and worry. If you don’t like Terry Eames personally or professionally, that’s fine, everybody is entitled to their own opinions.

The problem comes with those spreading out and out lies about Eames and his time at the Speedbowl. The fact is, spreading lies about him or his history as it pertains to track management doesn’t do anything but hurt the current product at Thompson Speedway, and short track racing in the region as whole.

On Aug. 14 RaceDayCT reported the news that Eames would be named as the new general manager at Thompson. Facebook lit up with the comments condemning the move as certain disaster, with many pointing to the shape Eames left the Speedbowl in after the 2014 season.

One of the first comments on this website stated that Eames shouldn’t be allowed anywhere near racing after the way he left the Speedbowl.

Friday Thompson Speedway officials introduced Eames publicly as the track’s new general manager.

A comment on Facebook regarding that fact read: “Terry Eames ran the bowl into the ground. Every year we had to wonder if the bowl was going to open at all. We had to endure bankruptcy this and bankruptcy that talk year after year. He left the whole place a wreck. I wonder what plans they have for Thompson other than raise prices, bankrupt it then leave town.”

The ignorance of the comment is beyond reason. Saying Eames ran the Speedbowl into the ground is actually the furthest thing from the truth.

Financial mess? Absolutely. Ran the track into the ground? Hardly.

Yes, there were financial issues. Financial issues that for nearly a decade Eames fought to climb out from. Financial issues that made everything at the Speedbowl a struggle for a long time.

But beyond those financial issues, how did Eames leave the New London-Waterford Speedbowl?

He actually left the Speedbowl in a state that most short track owners or promoters across this country would love to have at their facilities.

Despite all the dark clouds of financial issues and the threat of foreclosure, the 2014 season at Waterford – under Eames’ management – saw great car counts in nearly all weekly divisions. It saw divisions deep with the talent. It was a track that featured some of the best racing in the country because of the drivers Eames’ management attracted to the facility and the officiating crew he put together to oversee his product.

In 2014 the Speedbowl had what many considered to be the one of the best websites of any short track in America. The track had a solid social media program that was truly ahead of its time. Track management had great relationships with the media, both traditional mainstream media and racing focused media.

The track had a racing management staff that was outstanding in the pits, and the front of the house staff catering to fans was just as good. The track featured a schedule that was well planned and worked for local racers. There was a solid fanbase and management understood that fanbase and built relationships with them and promotions that worked to keep them coming back. And that track had a great relationship with NASCAR that only helped even more to bring security and protection to competitors and promotional strength for the facility.

Yes, there were financial issues, but beyond that, most short tracks in America would do just about anything to be what the Speedbowl was in 2014 under Eames’ watch.

Look at the car counts at the Speedbowl now, look at the struggles to attract fans today. We’re not knocking the current management, it’s just fact. Eames isn’t to blame for the Speedbowl’s crash over the last four years, and what it is now is not close to the way he left it. The Speedbowl is literally struggling to survive right now. Certainly many wish the Speedbowl could just go back to being as “bad” as it was under Eames in 2014.

And people seem to forget that the New London-Waterford Speedbowl still exists because of Eames, not despite Eames. He had opportunities to sell the facility, close it down, cover all his debts and put a bunch of money in his pocket and walk away into the sunset. He didn’t. He fought to keep it a race track.

And the reality is Eames is a good fit for Thompson Speedway. He understands better than most the animal that is the Northeast short track racing market. Spreading lies and branding him publicly as someone who is sure to destroy Thompson Speedway will only to serve to hurt short track racing in Connecticut.

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Comments

  1. Amen

  2. Lets give the guy a chance!!!

  3. AMEN 2

  4. I don’t know any drivers who only wanted seven races especially when five of them involve a touring division so the prefixes at the gate are high and the local racers get out to the back burner. They don’t need a management group the grandfather needs to take back over. He cares about the racers and cares about the facility.

  5. There are two good things about Terry. 1 He can permote with the best of them. 2 He cares what the ripple affect does to the racer. If TSMP is telling you 10/12 races don’t get the support then give them more support on the 7 events. What most of you don’t get is it is a business TSMP needs to make money (or at the verry least not loose money) on oval events. I would like to see more stand alone events. But the racer and fans could show them by supporting those events.

  6. Well put Shawn….

  7. old observer says:

    I hope it is a good fit for Thompson & everything works out. I believe he will try his best to make it work because that is in his best interest financially. I’m not a Waterford regular, but a few years ago after a big show, I was rushing to beat the crowd out & Terry was at the exit personally thanking each fan for coming! How many owners/promoters do that? Maybe more should.

  8. One great thing about Terry, I never felt it was about the dollar when it came to who he cared about coming thru the gates. Yeah sure, any promoter would love a crew that brings sponsorship that buys billboards and throws special promotions at the place. But he honestly gave a crap about the scraping nickels to race guys too. We were all welcome, and he wanted all of us back there each week. Something a lot of track promoters these days don’t care about. I’ve read comments from more than a few of the top teams about how those people don’t belong, “effing lappers”, poor hacks, etc. Every one of them has been driven away by that attitude, insane rules changes, and costs that have no reason to be allowed to creep that high. I remember watching rondeau and McCarthy fight with Stuart, and every week, the TMD tire car was in the mix as someone to get around when they lapped him. It wasn’t the same when any one of the regulars weren’t there, even the TMD car.
    Terry gets it. I hope he brings a lid to put on the insane cost increases that drive cars into garagaes to rot on four jack stands.

  9. I don’t follow the nasty comments on social media. I’ve seen the stories here and it strikes me that on the whole Eames story has been well represented and on the scale of opinion from comments he’s come out favorably.
    I don’t see why if there are people that are lying about his past they can’t be mentioned right here specifically in the article and called out for it. Instead of some generic condemnation of a cloud of distortions that have no context.
    People that cast about lies willy nilly won’t stop lying unless they are shamed by the truth and held up in public as a fraud.

  10. Yes, I agree Paul!

  11. I first went to the Speedbowl in 2004. It instantly became my favorite “small track”, with Thompson continuing to be my favorite “big track”. Waterford at the time had a great racer turnout, great racing, and a good crowd turnout. Granted, times and racer expense have changed. But if Terry Eames can help add to the current Thompson program and schedule, that’s a huge plus to New England racing. Maybe they could add an 8th event to test the waters; have an “open” Modified race, maybe 75-80 laps, similar to what Stafford did. It would be “special event” with the added category and perhaps bring a big enough fan crowd to make it work from a business perspective.

  12. Terry Eames and Thompson deserve to prove themselves. I for one wish Terry the very best.
    Note to Terry, anytime you need banners put up call I’ll help!!

  13. Terry has to prove himself to everyone in the racing world. Terry drove the Waterford Speedbowl into a foreclosed sale with his mismanagement. Don’t sit here and tell me it was someone else’s fault. Terry didn’t pay his bills period.
    I do hope this works out for Thompson Speedway, because I love the place and it’s the best WMT races of the year.
    No such thing as open Modified races. The races at Stafford stunk. They have to many rules to call them open Modified races. They were a joke.

  14. When a race track dies it dies from the head.

  15. Reiterating. The Arutes and the Honig’s are multi generational family owners. Obviously we don’t know or is it our business to know the debt service they deal with but the opportunity is there for it to be very light.
    Compared to Eames who bought the track at the worst time, pre Great Recession, at market value and was behind the eight ball from day one. And through guts and determination survived longer then most others could and or would even try were it not for his love of the sport.
    Stafford, Thompson, Waterford. Apples, apples, donuts.
    Just a bit of understanding may be in order.

  16. Great news for Thompson speedway. Maybe he could run the Speedbowl in his spare time and get it back to where it used to be. I am sure he could do both. Terry is a class act.

  17. Anita Thomas says:

    Terry Eames is an Awesome Man Forget the past Move Forward! Love Terry And Yokasta!

  18. Great opportunity for Terry Eames and Thompson to take advantage of those Sat nights with the Speedbowls troubles. Make it a 10 race schedule in 2019 and work with Seekonk on the nights they don’t run. Seekonk did not run every sat this year so there wouldn’t be any conflicts.

  19. I worked for, & around Terry at Waterford for years. He is not dishonest, period. Furthermore he’s a really decent person. If I were looking to get back into the game I’d work for him again if he were to ask me. That’s all I’ll say about the subject. And to those “expert” trolls that are commenting without knowing the facts, or without leaving their entire names; grow-up & learn some courage & integrity.

    Regards,
    Dave Dykes, Waterford, CT.

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