Potential Waterford Speedbowl Owner Bruce Bemer Prepared To Get On Track To Changes

Glastonbury businessman Bruce Bemer moments after he was the high bidder during a foreclosure auction of the Waterford Speedbowl on Oct. 18

Glastonbury businessman Bruce Bemer moments after he was the high bidder during a foreclosure auction of the Waterford Speedbowl on Oct. 18

Bruce Bemer has the vision, now he’s just waiting on the court system to let him act on those visions.

Bemer, the potential new owner of the Waterford Speedbowl, is waiting on the court to approve the sale by foreclosure action that took place at the facility on Oct. 18.

Bemer was the high bidder for the property, at $1.75-million. The court is expected to make a decision on approving or denying the sale possibly as early as next week.

Bemer, who’s primary business is as owner of Bemer Petroleum of Glastonbury, has no history in owning or operating a racing facility.

“I’ve been trying to keep a low profile,” Bemer said. “I’m waiting for the court to make a decision. So there’s not a whole lot I can do until that happens. … I’m kind of new to this, but I guess a lot of the planning for next year should be done or be getting done by now. I’m ready to go as soon as this thing closes. But it’s tough for me to do anything until this is all cleared.”

Bemer said since the foreclosure auction he has received a flood of emails and messages from people in the racing community thanking him for stepping up with the desire to keep the facility operating as a track.

“With the amount of emails and phone calls we’ve gotten I know people are tremendously excited it’s going to remain a track,” Bemer said. “… As a person we like to help other people. That’s probably more rewarding than doing something for ourselves. This has got to be one of the most rewarding things to me that I’ve ever done in my life.”

Bemer’s biggest concerns at the track revolve around safety for fans and competitors, and upgrades that will improve potential safety hazards. Bemer said the grandstands and the catch fence around the racing surface are his two biggest safety concerns.

“I look at the grandstands, I’m sure he’s done what he has to do to patch them up, but I can’t take a chance on something like a catastrophe there,” Bemer said. “The other thing I look at is the catchfence. I went to Stafford [Motor Speedway] last week for a Swap Meet and I was looking and I noticed that their catchfence is like a 15-20 feet high chain link. You get a tire coming off a car at 80 mph I’m not sure that the chicken-wire fence that’s existing down at Waterford is going to stop it.”

Beyond safety, Bemer said improving the situation with rest room facility for female patrons is a major concern.

“I’ve been told about 46 percent of the customers are female,” Bemer said. “Ladies don’t want to use a Porta-Potty.”

Bemer said current track owner Terry Eames may remain in management with the facility in some capacity.

“I haven’t decided if he’s the best guy to be there,” Bemer said. “In talking to him, and I’ve had many conversations with him, you can tell that his heart is into it. He’s really put his whole life into the place. I can see his passion for the organization and the industry. Maybe he just got to the point where he was wearing too many hats. There’s nobody successful that hasn’t had bad times in their business. You do the best you can to get through it and sometimes you try to do too much yourself to get through it.”

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  1. Armco needs to go.

  2. If he wants to get it right, can Eams, don’t even consider Dodge, and start talking to Bill Long, Jackie Arute and Brian Vance.

  3. I dont think Vance is going to move from TN for the Waterford Speedbowl.

  4. Ben dodge would be good

  5. hopefully alot of good changes with the property and employees

  6. First they need to lower the gate price to make it more FAMILY friendly. The stands are empty. You fix that and they will come.

  7. Its awesome we still have the track, but next year is definitely going to be awkward. Bemer doesn’t know what he’s doing, IMO. If Terry gets the boot, then there won’t be any authority figure. You almost need Terry to stay these first couple of seasons. But some teams won’t like that either.

  8. Brian Vance would be a good contact to help point the new management in the right direction and be a great advisor…. That was my point. No way his he moving up here.

  9. Why don’t you rename it Rocco Speedway!

  10. I commend this new owner for keeping the track and the proposed upgrades, but keeping terry in a management position will just be an awful mistake. I will not dispute he managed to keep the track going but look at the teams that will not race there because of him. All the fans that wont. Buy a ticket becasue of him. The man is just not well liked so keeping him on is just not a good buisness decision. Have an open house meeting and listen to the owners,drivers and fans. Not hear them but listen. There are plenty of people around the racing community that can turn the place around but they need to be allowed to do so,not always being overruled and end up quitting. This can be done and ben dodge is not the answer.

  11. Howard Commander at Lebanon Valley would also be a great source of advice.

  12. justwanarace says

    Mr. Berner Terry must go! This guy is no good for business. Please hear our voices we do not want this guy at our track!

  13. Andy Boright says

    Let’s see how rewarding it feels for him after the first season is in the books. The track is in Connecticut so pricing will never be family (or fan) friendly.

    Guys don’t like using port-a-potties either, but fan amenities have never been high on the Waterford management priority list no matter who was running the joint (at least for the last 30 years or so).

  14. Rocket scientist says

    Here’s how it needs to be. There is plenty of knowledgeable and talented people out there in our racing community and maybe if they are offered the going rate for a race official, not a cheeseburger and a free guest sign in you can get some quality help. Terry, and his whole band of cronies need to be purged from the place end of story. You keep Bubby around to help with facilities at first because know one knows that aspect of it better then him. Keep Caisse and Darling in the office they know all the players and how things work on that end. As far as race day keep Webby to run the track crew and a FEW of the pit stewards, everyone else goes! Right down to the French fry cook.

  15. Ben Dodge would be good in the right position such as promoter and or announcer, Having retired motor builders as tech inspectors would be very helpful. And a good race director, who fair and consistent. The Park was packed every week when he was there promoter. Talking to Mark Arute, and any dirt track owner for advise would be helpful. Ticket prices for regular shows needs to come down some. Last year Memorial Day weekend it was $12 to get in the grandstands and they were full. Speedbowl fans aren’t always willing to pay Thompson prices.

  16. john dibble says

    Kenny sands would be a good person for that race track he will turn it around

  17. I understand everybody want s to tell this guy how to run his business but the bottom line is it is his business ! (mr Bemer has run one successfully since I can remember ) I am pretty sure he will do it right . Just be happy the guy bought it and is keeping it a track I am sure he will do alright .

  18. Mr. Bemer is gleaning knowledge right now, getting educated – smartest thing he could do, because he’s a smart man! He knows what he doesn’t know. He knows Terry was NOT successful in the end “doing it all”, so that will not happen in 2015 – Bemer just said it – Terry, if involved, would not wear all hats.

    However, Eames has a lot of experience putting a good racing card together. Wings and Wheels, Thunder on the Sound, etc. are some of the best local NE racing cards every summer.

    Pricing? Facilities Management? Race Directing/Officiating? Questions still linger there, and I hope we do not see Terry wearing ANY of those hats in 2015.

    I get the sense that Mr. Bemer has and will continue to talk with the Arutes. Opinions aside, the Arutes / SMS are at the top around CT for the overall experience. Not perfect, but Mark, Jackie and the crew continue to keep Big Jack’s dream going strong – so they are doing something right, and the car counts in the Mods are really strong for a Friday Night show in this economy.

    So, whether it be forging an alliance with the Arutes, or just taking selective knowledge/ guidance on certain things with the track / facility? Can’t go wrong.

    All I know is that I hope the court rubber stamps this deal as “APPROVED”.

  19. Why not have someone race savvy like Johnny Brouwer Jr be the new race director?

  20. Fire Terry,nobody respects him.Hire Dick Williams everybody respects him.

  21. mr humpy whealer

  22. Why not bring back the very experienced John Whitehousew

  23. justwanarace says

    OK OK OK if we have to keep Terry on the payroll then let him clean the new bathroom facilities.enough said!

  24. He should call the owner of seekonk speedway look it is family own for all these years and still going they have a nice place

  25. I think the rules should be the same as other tracks like stafford or thompson so drivers and owners can take their cars from those tracks and race at Waterford like the old days so thry don’t have to change anything….just show up and race like back in the 70’s and 80’s

  26. My husband and I used to go to the track every week for years now we are retired and can only a afford to go once a month, it is a 45 minute ride each way ,so we need to pay for gas at these outrageous prices.

  27. Racing 4 ever says

    The track admission prices are very high, the place itself is nothing great, some of the events are totally stupid (drag night ??? seriously,it’s a joke), and the whole place needs a facelift.Safety there has always been a concern of mine, hence the reason we sit way up in the stands…That fence they have will not stop a car hurling up into it,,,and yes it does happen !!

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