Waterford Speedbowl Property Hits The Market As Part Of Ongoing Foreclosure Proceedings

Speedbowl-nightThe property of 1080 Hartford Turnpike in Waterford, otherwise known as the Waterford Speebdowl, hit the real estate market this week.

Waterford Speedbowl owner Terry Eames said listing the property for sale publicly is part of the proceedings mandated in court when a foreclosure auction date was set in January.

The property is listed online for sale at $3.3 million.

“This is currently being operated as a NASCAR sanctioned racetrack,” reads the listing online. “Redevelopment opportunities abound: affordable housing, retail, industrial, distribution center and light manufacturing. There is no evidence of environmental issues.”

Said Eames: “It’s not a great day, but I knew it would be here eventually.”

In Superior Court in New London in January, Judge Emmet Cosgrove set an Oct. 18 foreclosure auction sale for the Speedbowl.

Rocco Arbitell, part of a group of creditors still owed money from a debt reorganization plan arranged through state bankruptcy court, moved to have foreclosure action retaken against the Speedbowl ownership in March 2013.

The State of Connecticut Judicial Branch lists the plaintiffs in the action as Rocco Arbitell, Peter Borelli and the Committee of Sale.

In July 2007, Arbitell, a Southbury businessman and local racing supporter, along with his business associate Borrelli, stepped in to offer Eames and his ownership group, 1080 Hartford Road LLC, financing to avoid a foreclosure action being taken then by former mortgage holder Washington Mutual Bank. The deal with Arbitell was announced a day before the track’s auction date for a foreclosure in 2007.

In May 2008 Arbitell brought his own foreclosure action against the ownership group after former track operator Jerry Robinson failed to pay the Speedbowl’s property taxes.

Facing another pending foreclosure auction, Eames and 1080 Hartford Road LLC filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in October 2009. A debt reorganization plan was accepted by bankruptcy court in January 2012 and the ownership cleared bankruptcy not long after that.

Eames owes about $1 million to Arbitell and about another $1 million to the other creditors involved.

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  1. Hope for the best that the track can survive. I started there in the 90’s and loved it. Moved out of state in late 90 but that place holds a special place in my heart. It was also the first place I ever went with my parents to watch races when I was a kid.

  2. Mike Tiberio says

    Most likely will be snapped up by NYC Investors and turned into High End shopping Plaza or Apartments , as if we need anymore. Sad Day for Racing!

  3. Some “Birthday” present. I hope someone can buy the track and keep it as is. A friendly family place.

  4. I’ve always wondered…why isn’t the Speedbowl on any sort of historic registry?

  5. considering there are several large lots down the street closer to I95 that have been on the market for several years for less money, the chances of a non racing person,or group buying it are not the best odds.

  6. So if someone offers him the asking price, then that’s it?

  7. Cory Casagrande says

    So if he does sell it for that price, he still walks away with a million bucks…Smart in a way sucks for the racers if not sold to someone who plans to keep the place open

  8. Rich,
    My understanding is that the ownership is under no obligation to “sell” no matter the offer.

  9. I knew there was a story behind it. I’m convinced he wouldn’t just let the racing go to nothing.

  10. What I think should happen since thompson went to 7 races. and is more interested in bring road Racing the honeings should invest with someone to keep Short racing in ct maybe mohegan since they are a sponsor at thompson just an idea

  11. Anyone Think they will keep it a racetrack

  12. Hope someone keeps it as a racetrack. Guess we may see sooner then later. Too bad for the drivers and crews.

  13. The Copper Beach Farm estate in Greenwich CT just sold for 120 million. 3 million is nothing if in there you can show the land is worth x and the business brings in y. Hopefully a Nascar driver or someone would step in. Having a loss might help them with taxes.

  14. I was talking to a couple of customers last Sat at the Blastoff and one said when the New Hampshire ski slopes started to lose money, they offered the patrons to financially buy in to the operation, thus saving the slopes. Is that an option here? Would hate to see the Bowl go, but it needs an infusion of mega-cash.

  15. No Enviromental issues! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA your kidding,

  16. Jimmy Milo says

    When Stafford was running the Speedbowl for then owner Harvey Tatersall, I asked Jack Arute Sr. if he was thinking of buying the place. His answer was “Either Waterford or Daytona.The price is the same.” Thought that was a pretty good answer at the time.

  17. So does this mean it could be purchased tomorrow and bulldozers show up the next day? Or will racing continue for the rest of 2014?

  18. Frankly, as much as this sucks to see. I am not worried. There are at least 5 parcels of land local to the area for sale currently for less money that will also require less work for development. The biggest potential problem with the Speedbowl property for a prospective buyer in my eyes is the fact that over the years oils and fuels and god knows what other contaminants have seeped into the ground and before they develop anything on that land, the EPA is going to want there to be a major cleanup of the land, especially since there is a water source directly behind the rear access road on the back straight that flows directly to the Niantic River and subsequently into Niantic Bay… The cost of that alone will be enough to drive pretty much anyone away who doesn’t want to maintain the current facility for what it is.

  19. Why not just have a fundraiser? I mean with someone else accounting for funds.! Unless they fix the grandstands in the next week or so. There taking in half of the entrance fee money you could possibly get. I read what terry wrote earlier. “Coldest winter, frozen ground ” bla bla bla. The stands did not rot out in one year. Maintenance years ago would have only required up keep versus this situation.

    I’m not saying a fundraiser is the only answer but it’s a start to try to pay those people off. Ho humming about it will not fix it. Get it done. Find someone who doesn’t mind owning half of it and be partners. Find two people and have an equal stake in it. Someone out there wants to own it. Hopefully it’s someone who likes race tracks.

  20. Fred,
    Just to make clear here, the person using the name “Terry” and leaving the comment on the “Triple” story Tuesday night referring to the cold winter and frozen ground was NOT track owner Terry Eames.

  21. So just someone else pretending to be? Either way my statement is the same. Excuses will not fix it. Hard work and determination will get it done. If he really wants it, then make it happen. If he tries and fails at least he tried.

  22. Fred,
    Actually I don’t think the person was pretending to be, I think the person who left the comment, their actual name is Terry. I just wanted it to be clear here that it as WAS NOT the track owner making that particular comment on here.

  23. Anonymous says

    Are they going to let the season finish if someone buys it this year,or are they going to shut it right down.

  24. Nick,
    I can’t say exactly what would happen, but my best guess is that if a reasonable offer is made that would like to be accepted accepted by ownership, the creditors and the courts, I’d guess every effort would be made to at least finish the season that has begun.

  25. Rich Carlon says

    I dont get it, Rocco Arbetell has been a supporter of local racing for years. Wouldnt it make sense for him to simply take the neccesary legal actions to take over ownership by default? The legal actions that he and his partner have taken are more about recovering their money than keeping the property a racing venue. There really no logical answer why a guy that supported racing would let a track go away.

  26. Rich,
    I can’t speak for Mr. Arbitell, but I think he’d rather put support behind local racing than own a racetrack himself. And as far as him taking ownership “by default”, I don’t think legally that’s something that can take place at this point.

  27. why doesn’t the state of ct give him a low interest loan like they did with Thompson speedway, the track does help the economy in that end of the state, granted it’s only a summer time boost similar to what Thompson does, the track is centrally located in comparison to Thompson, don’t get me wrong I like Thompson, I just don’t like the hour and a half to get there, Waterford does need updating, but it holds a special place in Waterford fan’s hearts

  28. Anyone can form a company, sell shares, and buy the track. A classic version of this is Silverstone in England, it is owned and managed by the British Race Drivers Assoc. I believe this is still the case. You could make it then a lot like Danbury. Terry would be the one to ask how to do it.

  29. Andy da woodchuck says

    @Rich Carlon When a property is sold via public auction the $$ made from that sale goes directly to the creditors/debtors on record that have liens against the property or owner(s). IF at the end of the sale there’s money leftover, the owner gets that but I believe they would have to pay capital gains..i believe. Also, Arbitell wants his money he doesn’t want a property that is falling apart or a stale asset.

  30. wonder what track would love to have Sat Nights if Bowl closed, would Seekonk consider Sk Modifieds again? Thompson move its schedule? I don’t know if a racing person would think buying the Bowl for above 3 Million dollars is a good investment in the current economy of CT. Stands are empty, car counts are not what they were, everybody thinks they know how to fix the problem, but the problem is that local racing has become a cost nightmare for fans and teams. You can get Cup tickets for the same amount of money as last weeks show at Waterford and Thompson was even more expensive for Ice Breaker. Thompson knows that CT racing is on its way out and even though I hate it, they made a smart business move in generating long term revenue for themselves in the upcoming years.

  31. I thought the uses for the property were limited due to the aquifier running thrue?

  32. Judge Elihu Smails says

    I just hope Al Czervik doesn’t buy it… It would be a damn shame to see a giant condominium complex there.

  33. I got the answer just move to southern NH ,there’s six short tracks with in a two hour spread of each other .Two of them are dirty tracks and you can race four nights a week and the purse is hell of a lot more than the CT tracks pay. I raced the CT short tracks in the early 90s(late models)

  34. If it works like a house auction, the creditors will provide the opening bid (to the penny) everything they are owed at the auction including interest and legal fee’s and if no one bids above that, they own it.

  35. Maybe someone could buy the track turn it into a road course charge for overnight parking double ticket food and beverage prices and save the place.they wouldnt need to even need to fix the grandstand.haha. Or maybe the rocco family could by it? He could build a car for every division.and win every race every night.hm the roccobowl.lol

  36. Hopefully the old Bowl has not used up all of it’s 9 lives just yet. It really is a great track regardless of all it’s problems. I hope it stay’s and whoever takes charge of has got to make racing affordable and fun again for the racers and the fan’s. A Wednesday night format with a modified class would be great. It need’s to also be used for non racing events as well. Whoever ends up with it and keeps it a track needs to get creative and get people back. Hopefully it’s not to late to restore the old girl to it’s old form. We will miss it if it goes. Once it’s gone, its gone.


    The loss of any Ct racetrack is sad we have lost so many good ones already. When I was young (late 60’s) my dad took me to Plainville stadium and every week I couldn’t wait for Saturday night to come. From then on it was Stafford every Friday then Riverside on Saturday or once in a while we would go to Danbury on Saturday, those were great times. Lets hope somebody steps in here and buys the track and keep it a race track.

  38. We really can’t afford to lose any more local tracks. Lets hope and pray that something works out so the “Bowl” with all its great history will live on. I have been attending since the 60’s and have many excellent memories of past events. These go back to the days of the 716 , L&M , M , 353 , %, and so many others. I would bug my Dad all day on Saturday so we could go to the Speedbowl that night. The big problem today is a $3 million price tag to buy the property leads to a really steep mortgage payment. That is a situation the other local tracks are not in. Lets hope that things work out and the “Bowl” continues to provide good times for racers and fans in the future. We have lost WAY too many tracks to development already!!!!

  39. Mark S. is right on the money I believe re:opening bid.

    I believe after last weekend’s show, it is now “officially” known as the Waterford Roccobowl.

    I’ve already prepared myself that this is the last season for the track.

    In my mind, the ONLY realistic player that is going to gain in buying it and keeping it a racetrack is the only player that may also lose by buying it – The Arute family.

    I could argue that it could be in the best interest of the Arutes that buying Waterford and keeping it running may help to preserve a good car count base. They could run a double track bonus, etc.

    Of course, I could also argue that seeing Waterford sold to someone else and the track gone could benefit the Arutes; the thought being the Vin Beedles and Gadas and Monahans and such could run Stafford instead. However, I think that is the weaker of the two sides of the coin. Geography can play a big part. Not exactly a drive down the block between Southeast CT and Northern CT…..but racers are racers….

    I don’t know that i see the Koenigs buying it and making it “Thompson South”. While a novel idea, they are investing a ton already in the motorsports park, and are placing their future bet on the road course club racing scene.

    Sadly, the racing itself at the ‘bowl, to me, is the best action around compared to the other tracks in the area. Perfect short track size and config.

    Will be a tough day this October when the racing season ends.



  41. STEADY EDDIE FAN – I said no such thing re:blaming Keith Rocco for anything! I’m a KidRoc fan actually!

    I have absolutely no idea whatsoever as to what you might possibly be referring to. You could not possibly be more wrong.

    I suggest you re-read what I wrote.



  43. I wish I had 3.3 million dollars

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