Closing Act: Bemers Super Bowl Brings Colossal End To Rebirth Year At New London-Waterford Speedbowl

Super Bowl 280One year ago this weekend the future of the New London-Waterford Speedbowl was a massive question mark.

Bruce Bemer, a Glastonbury businessman with few ties previously to the local racing scene, had recently been the high bidder in a foreclosure auction for the facility and promised to keep racing alive at the track, but there was plenty of wonder left about whether or not he could clear the hurdles needed to do that.

Fast forward one year and the dreary cloud of wonder has fully cleared the radar as the Speedbowl prepares for its biggest show yet under Bemer’s first year of ownership.

This weekend the New London-Waterford Speedbowl hosts the first Bemers Super Bowl of Auto Racing.

What was originally set to be a one-day event showcasing an open Tour Type Modified show sanctioned by the organizers of the Tri-Track Open Modified Series, has morphed into a two-day bonanza blowout featuring 12 divisions and big payout shows across the racing card.

“My head is spinning with the amount of phone calls and attention to detail that I’m putting into trying to make sure that this is a successful event,” Speedbowl general manager Shawn Monahan said. “I really couldn’t be more happy with the ending off the first season, going out with something like this. We are the bookend. It’s always hard to compare what we do at New London-Waterford [Speedbowl] to something like at a track like Thompson Speedway and an event as prestigious as the World Series. I had talked to [Thompson Speedway general manager Josh Vanada] before I had even come up with a name for this, but the reason why I actually called this event the Super Bowl of Auto Racing is because I wanted to be one step after the World Series. In the sporting world, once you go to the World Series make sure you don’t forget to stop by and check out the Super Bowl. And here we are. And people are just as excited about it as I am.

“At the beginning of the season when we laid out the schedule I was satisfied with ending [weekly racing] like we did in late September and coming back for this event. But there was a lot of fear that I carried on whether or not I had made a good move holding an event this late in the season. But I think with the support of the racing community and the fact that racing generally is completed at other tracks, it’s given me an opportunity to capitalize on people who have equipment and aren’t ready to pack it away for the winter yet.”

The racing card at the track features a Tri-Track Modified Racing Series open show that will have two $3,000 to win qualifying events playing into a $5,000 to win main event.

Also on the schedule is a 75-lap SK Modified feature that will pay more than $5,000 to win, a Legends feature that will pay more than $2,000 to win and the first visit to the track for the Granite State Pro Stock Series.

Also on the card are features for the tracks regular Late Model, SK Light Modified, Limited Sportsman and Mini Stock divisions. The New England Truck Series, X-Cars, Super X-Cars and Bandoleros round out the event.

“It’s an awesome show from a driver’s standpoint,” Late Model division regular Anthony Flannery said. “Everybody is going to be there. They’re putting up extra money for a lot of the divisions. They didn’t leave anybody out, which is just awesome. Bruce Bemer and Shawn Monahan and all those guys have been improving the place astronomically in the things they’ve been doing and this is just great to see happening.”

Monahan said more than 50 cars have registered for the Legends feature.

“Initially it wasn’t even really part of our program,” Monahan said. “[Tri-Track Series organizer] James Schaefer got the ball rolling with this and it’s just growing and growing by the moment.

“I took the two Legends consolation events that we were going to start off the program with on Sunday and moved those back over to Saturday so that we can start Sunday off with a B-Main for the Legends. And the B-Main is going to pay for five positions. Not only give guys a last opportunity to advance and if they do choose to advance we’ll roll the money down the line.”

As of Wednesday, 44 teams had pre-registered for the Tri-Track Open Modified Racing Series sanctioned events. It’s an entry list that features most of the who’s who of Northeast Modified racing.

Monahan also expects a studded field for the SK Modified feature. In addition to the track’s regular standouts, Monahan has gotten commitments from Whelen Modified Tour regular Ryan Preece and Ronnie Williams, who tied for the most wins this season in the SK Modified division at Stafford Motor Speedway.

Monahan said he has sold about half of the laps for additional lap money for the SK Modified feature. Each lap sold for the event will pay out $50, with an interesting twist that $25 will go to the lead lap leader with $15 going to second place and $10 going to third. Monahan said anyone interested in sponsoring a lap can contact the Speedbowl.

“I’ve got two local guys who just love racing that want to financially support this event,” Monahan said. “That’s David Prinz from Prinzision Racing and my old friend John Mahoney from Mahoney Family Racing. Were going to have bonuses going to regular divisions. It’s just awesome. Anow I am able to increase the winning purse for the SK Lights [Modifieds] and the Late Models.”

The bonus program includes a special fan participation aspect. The Speedbowl will choose one fan for each of their regular weekly divisions running. That fan will receive $50 and will choose their favorite that finishes between positions 6-10 in the feature event with that driver earning a special bonus. The program will see bonuses of $400 to the SK Modified division, $250 to the Late Models, $250 to the SK Light Modifieds, $200 to the Limited Sportman division and $200 to the Mini Stocks.

“I am overwhelmed with satisfaction from what I am hearing from not only the general public, but the competitors,” Monahan said. “Everybody just seems to be equally excited about not only the money on the line, but also the level of competition that’s going to be here.”


  1. speed kills says

    does ct allow for a 50/50 raffle?? this should be a weekly thing ..

  2. Yes. It does. Hartford hockey club does them every game.

  3. RichC,
    I’m not certain, but I think any organization holding a 50/50 raffle in Connecticut must obtain a permit from the state and half of what is collected for entries must go to a charitable/non-profit organization.

  4. Shawn,

    Thanks for clarifying. I was not sure about criteria, but was certain that they can be done.

    Also, while you’re here, a quick thanks for continuing to provide us with info about the racing scene in CT. I know that you have taken some shots from folks that aren’t happy with what you do, but I personally appreciate it very much.

  5. RichC,

    Thank you. Appreciate it the comment.

  6. speed kills says

    thanks shawn for confirming I have been to some NY tracks where they had raffles ..really good idea ..if I am not mistaken it could be done thru the local volunteer FD??..

  7. Speed kills,
    I think it can be done through any sort of nonprofit organization or charity group, but they do have to have a permit from the state to do it as far as I can tell from reading some of the state statutes.

  8. I thought there was a 50/50 raffle weekly at the Speedbowl back in late 90’s, early 00’s. Or was that Riverside Park Speedway? Not sure.

    Very excited for this weekend. Suggestion for Mr. Monahan… Warming stations.

  9. So glad to see NLWS bounce back this year and end on such an ambitious and hopefully very sucessful show. Thanks to all for keeping the track alive and in just one season making it soooooo much better. Looking forward to Sat. and Sun.

  10. Don Lauber says

    U did such a great job fixing the place up and having racing stay at the Bowl so keep it up…I believe everyone will agree it’s a great place to go on a Saturday night!!

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