Shawn Monahan Leaving General Manager Position At New London-Waterford Speedbowl

Shawn Monahan

Shawn Monahan

The murmurs have reverberated around the pits at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl since late August.

Sunday Speedbowl owner Bruce Bemer and general manager Shawn Monahan made the worst kept secret in local racing of late official.

Monahan will resign as the track’s general manager following Saturday’s Smacktoberfest event at the facility. The Speedbowl closed out its 2016 slate of racing events yesterday.

“The most important thing to me is, No. 1, I will forever be grateful that Bruce Bemer gave me the opportunity to do my dream job,” Monahan said. “… As a team we brought the race track to a new level. I also feel I was instrumental in saving the New London-Waterford Speedbowl. With that said, I’m looking forward to relaxing a little bit and hopefully I haven’t let anybody down by departing, but I feel like my job is complete.”

Monahan was the first general manager under Bemer’s ownership of the facility.

“I just thank him for his dedicated service over the last two years and bringing us to the point where we are,” Bemer said. “He was very instrumental in getting the deal closed initially and overall he did a good job. … I’m sorry to see him go.”

Monahan owns Critical Signs, which is located next to the Speedbowl.

“I really do believe Bruce is a great businessman,” Monahan said. “He’s taught me a lot that I can apply to my own business. It’s been a pleasure working with him. I wish him the best. And I will do anything I can to continue to ensure the race track is successful.”

Bemer was the high bidder for the track during a foreclosure auction in October 2014. After three months of legal issues involving the foreclosure, Bemer closed on the property on Feb. 5, 2015 and announced Monahan as his first general manager five days later.

Monahan helped oversee and organize numerous major physical improvements of the property during the offseason following the 2015 racing season, including the installation of new catchfence surrounding the track.

Bemer said Sunday the search for a new general manager has begun, though he does not have a timetable for naming Monahan’s replacement.

“We have NASCAR that’s looking for dates, we have other people that are looking for dates [for the 2017 season], Bemer said. “… We can’t wait until January or February to make a decision. The sooner the better.”

Monahan was a longtime competitor at the track before being named general manager. Monahan said he’s unsure what his involvement will be in racing going forward.

“I have a sign business, I have a wife and I have a seven-year old son,” Monahan said. “I want to watch my son grow up and I want to be able to spend family time. I have not even put thought into myself in auto racing. Right now I have an SK Modified and two Limited Sportsman cars. If you ask me what my plan is for auto racing, I might dabble with one or the other or both, but at this point I have no interest in running a racing season anywhere.

“I do look forward to working a long work week at Critical Signs and being able to enjoy a good part of a weekend with my wife and son and then at 5 or 6 o’clock at night head out to the racetrack and watch a good night of racing.”


  1. MARK STANTON says

    Thanks for all you did Shawn, you’re a racers, racer. Meaning when the Speed Bowl needed help, you gave up doing what we all love to do or wish we did. While Stafford has been owned by the Arute’s, who do a great job keeping going what Jack started almost 50 years ago, and the same for Thompson, family owned since day 1. The “Old Girl” has had no such luck, used and abused, by past owners, bits and pieces sold off, dragged through the mud on the front page and in the courts, she has had no real stable in her life but us, the racers and fans. While Bruce may own it, To me, The Speed bowl has always felt like it was ours (Fans & Racers) and always will belong to it’s fans and racers. P.S…Shawn, by the look of things at last weeks SK show, you’re down to just 2 Sportsmans cars now…..sorry.

  2. Frankie tree says

    Well said Shawn brought us to where he could and now someone will step in and bring the bowl to the next level. Thanks and will be looking for the 31 next year. God bless out and your family.

  3. I heard Tapley mentioned.Not sure if GM or race director.I wonder if Olivia Bouchard is in the running.

  4. Thanks Shawn . Hate to see you go .

  5. Thank you Shawn for your hard work it has been a pleasure to go to the track and have a great time with great racing and a nice staff.

  6. Shawn, Thanks, great job. Everyone appreciates the enthusiasm you’ve shown in helping to keep the speedbowl alive but not just alive. Thanks for making it the premier track in CT. Hope to see you racing in 2017 in some form but mostly enjoy some time with your family. Thanks for being a stand up guy!

  7. Jim phillips says

    Shawn thank you for your part in saving our beloved speedbowl you and Bruce have done an amazing job woth the track now enjoy your family

  8. Thank you Shawn. I started going to the bowl about 15 tears ago and noticed you always lent a hand were needed. Whether it was doing fun things for the fans on Wednesday or walking into the stand with your helmet out to help a cause for fund raising. You were always involved. The last 2 years you and Bruce did so many great things. THANK YOU and best of luck in your future….

  9. Frankie tree says

    Love to know many posts your blocking. Bruce and l were just talking about that. Lol

  10. Big thanx to Shawn and Bruce for the vast improvements to the bowl and hope to see many more years of the same!!

  11. A huge thanks to Shawn Monahan for doing a great job managing and promoting the track for the last two years. As a fan, I am extremely grateful for all of your hard work. Having been a driver, your primary focus was on the competitors and competition. The result was very exciting competition and strong car counts. Some of the best racing I’ve seen in years. As a spectator, from a fan’s perspective, I feel like the fan experience could be better. Over the last two years I could not help but feel that the fan experience came second to the competitors. I hope that the next GM can put a little more effort into improving the fan experience. I feel like they need to look at the fan experience at Hartford Wolf Pack, New Britain Bees, Bridgeport Bluefish games, and bring some of that vibe to the Bowl. A few ideas, better lighting on the midway, allow food trucks in (for a fee or percentage of sales), soda/beer/snack vendors walking the stands. Do like NHMS, invite organizations to come in to raise money by taking a percentage of what they can sell. Also need to market the team beyond the New London, Waterford town lines. Do marketing banner trades with the Wolf Pack, Bees, etc.. Let them put up a banner on your backstretch, put up a banner on the outfield wall at New Britain Stadium. I love the Speedbowl, I am ever thankful for Shawn’s hard work over the last two years. I hope the next GM is ready to take it a step further. Also, Thank You Mr. Bemer!

  12. As a spectator. I’m impressed every week. Love the racing, the car counts, etc. Sorry to see you go but family is very important, ours is there every weekend. I personally wouldn’t listen to the thoughts about making this another nhms speedway. I would stop going.

  13. THANK-YOU SHAWN!! There is something about that track that makes it my favorite place to go see a race. Your and Mr. Bemer’s hard work has only made that better! Good luck to you both!

  14. More than likely quite a few. The rumor mill of this has been twirling for months and none of the reasons have been all roses and sunshine as the article perceives them to be.

  15. Thank you Shawn for all your hard work and dedication to our sport, great job!!

  16. Coming from other places to race where “if you don’t like it go find somewhere else to race” was the norm, Shawn provided an environment where the teams actually mattered, were listened to, and respected. Shawn did an admirable job in one of the most unappreciated positions in the sport. Thank you Mr Monahan.

  17. Frankie tree says

    That’s a fact pop rocks but let’s just move fwd. And stop looking back. We moved on after Terry and now we will bring things together and make it even a better place . We have the greatest owner in Bruce Bemer and.the sky’s the limit for what the bowl and he can do for local racing.

  18. Crazy in NY says

    As crewman on a TTOM Mod that only got to the Bowl during those events I want to thank Shawn
    also. Was always accommodating and responsive when a question or an issue came up and a true professional in every way. The Bowls transformation is remarkable and hopefully will continue going
    forward. The racing (when the BS isn’t going on) is some of the best to be found anywhere.
    IMO a new GM should be brought in from outside CT racing circles. Same for a new race director.
    Tough to do I know but continued facility upgrades along with cleaning up some of the crap on the
    track and in the South pit will go a long way with making it the best speedway in NE. As fan of Mods
    seeing the rebirth of Waterford and Lancaster here in NY makes me feel hopeful for the sport going forward. Great job Shawn your going to be missed.

  19. Bemer will one day look for a return on his investment and will sell the place to someone who will use the land for other things….Count on it…..and he will use excuses that are plain to see, the economy and the shrinking car counts in all divisions at all race tracks….Short track racing is in trouble, we are just such big fans we don’t want to admit it. I can’t ignore it anymore. Things are Awful compared to the mid-late 1980s. I don’t see it getting better any time soon….jmo.

  20. mike serluca says

    Dang, so does this mean Diego won’t be the track favorite any more? No more favoritism for him? What will you people have to talk about now? This is bad for Diego now too…

  21. Frankie tree, couldn’t agree more. Shawn leaving or being asked to leave whichever way people want to see it is only the beginning. More need to be escorted out along with him and start over from scratch. Hopefully Bruce looks beyond Shawn and sees he was just one part of the problem.

  22. ….at Foxwoods Casino, when a person in a managerial position leaves to ‘spend more time with his/her family’ it’s a euphemism for they got fired.

  23. When a high-level employer or employee at Foxwoods lets out a press release stating one of the reasons they’re leaving their job is to ‘spend more time with his/her family’ the term is always a euphemism for they got fired.

  24. Grey Matter says

    Pretty this is the speedbowl and not some casino.. I don’t see an industry hand book or a decoder ring that decodes statements like these mean. Shawn has his business and the bowl on top of that. Where do you think all his family time went? He didn’t pull it from the business, that’s for sure. You guys are good for one thing… making assumptions and you’re really not good at that either. Why don’t you cart your behind down to critical and ask the guy rather than conjuring this garbage in your heads but that would make to much sense….

  25. Thanks so much Shawn.As a fan,I have greatly enjoyed the Speedbowl under your management.You and Bruce worked well together rescuing the Speedbowl from near certain doom and then buffing it into a jewel of a short track that it is today.Your dedication to, and understanding of “home track” racing has literally saved the Speedbowl.We all owe you a debt of gratitude!

  26. Grey matter, Speedy is right- always a euphemism for someone got fired. And with all the talk the last few months about what was happening at the track and Shawn, I would bet it was a “leave quietly or it will be ugly” deal.

  27. Thanks to Shawn for everything you have done to keep the Speedbowl open. Thanks Bruce and keep moving forward.

  28. Jeff Zuidema says

    Sean, AWESOME JOB!! Much Respect for all you did to keep the Speedbowl up and running as the #1 race program in New England…. now relax and know “Your Home is in Great shape for success due to your work !!!

  29. Greg Hanner says

    Thank you Shaw for putting your heart and soul into the Bowl. In this world where most posts and reviews are from those who want to bitch about something, I’d like to say I thought Shawn did a great job! If he chose to stay, operations could have continued to get even better. Customers and clients that get what they expect won’t normally say how they got what they bargained for. It’s easy for an outsider to 2nd guess what they see, but no one can second guess the fact that you were handed a track that had been dragged through the mud. Shawn washed the mud off the Speedbowl’s face/reputation and made it shine with Bruce’s backing/support. Car counts speak volumes and Waterford’s were up big-time. Headwinds a GM faces are huge: Race operations (competitor’s bitching about Race Director calls), staffing challenges, weather calls, budget constraints, etc.. GM and Race Director are 2 VERY challenging positions to be in especially in a seasonal business. All the best Shawn and I hope whoever takes over keeps the momentum that you have going.

  30. Frankie tree says

    I believe that Shawn M. Put my name in the race. I have heard rumors of Terry Eames and many others . Should be very interesting race . I’m sure everyone has heard that Terry had a lot of experience mails in his home server. I just want to see 8f we can turn this into a real bussiness. Strengthen our security at the borders. I’m for building a wall and throw out all the foreign none wrist bands wearing immigrants . We will run strong races and make sure we protect our troops. A vote for a change is all I ask.

  31. Frankie tree says

    I believe that Shawn M. Put my name in the race. I have heard rumors of Terry Eames and many others . Should be very interesting race . I’m sure everyone has heard that Terry had a lot of e- mails in his home server. I just want to see if we can turn this into a real bussiness. Strengthen our security at the borders. I’m for building a wall and throw out all the foreign none wrist bands wearing immigrants . We will run strong races and make sure we protect our troops. A vote for a change is all I ask.

  32. Frankie tree says

    Go” Stump ” oops I mean Trump

  33. Ttt

  34. Being general manager is a thankless job. Behind the scene is what really counts . It takes a strong minded person to do a job like that .good luck to Shawn ……..

  35. Frankie tree says

    It’s more than 1 job but if you hire the right people and they do there job then you micro manage then. You can’t hireven your friends that never works and you need people who take Great pride in what they know and do. It’s real hard because it’s a 2 days a week job for alot of your help and it’s a thankless job. So who ever get the positions that are opening up will need to ask for a lot of imput and listen to what they say and not lead a dictatorship. And mostly take care of the fans. Racers will come even if other was a dirt track or even if track was at where Terry left it. But it’s the fans who keep doors open and that’s who ever gets this job should strive for. And it’s a great facility we need more than just 2 days of racing a week and broaden our minds .

  36. Good luck Shawn

  37. Frankie trees… there are so many reasons why this scenario took place. I’m not sure you’d even know where to begin. Shawn ran this place not only with his heart… but unfortunately, with what little he had to work with. The reality is the bowl is a great place, and shawn did an amazing job working with what he was given. It was never about dictatorship, it was never about not listening… it’s all about a failure to create the proper business structure for a facility like the bowl to succeed. It doesn’t matter who the bowl brings in, if the structure remains the status quo over the past 2 seasons… then the bowl goes through GM’s like it’s going out of style.

  38. James Scott says

    Ron I agree with the business part. The Speed Bowl powers to be have to go back to basics. Big money shows are not always the answer. If the Bowl was mine, I would cater to my regulars and try to make it as affordable for fans and competitors as I could. You have to take care of your regulars first. If it meant dropping divisions or pissing off motor builders so what. Monahan did a decent job but I think more could have been done for the regulars. I hope the new GM is named soon and he or she is new blood.

  39. James Scott I think that is where Shawn faltered. It was almost as if he felt he had something to prove instead of focusing on the weekly racers. Thursday schedules were shortened quite a bit this year by starting almost a month later and ending a few weeks shorter. Those nights bring in a decent amount of fans because of the pricing but this year those quick nights turned into sometimes 10pm or later because of big wheel races, additional heat races for the bandaleros, victory lane pictures for all heat races, Saturday divisions running on Thursdays. He killed that mid week racing in my opinion. Bring back the basics like you said. Lower the prices. Bring the focus back to your regulars. Don’t get me wrong, we are all happy to have this track but changes need to be made and your regular weekly teams need to appreciated.

  40. Frankie tree says

    I never said Shawn did a bad job he went as far as he could. Many people offered to help but he wasn’t interested. I know I offered. He was a key part of where the track is today. But it’s time to move fwd. I also agree we need to cater to our drivers with extra distance events and maybe a season championship. Add money to those events due to wear and tear on motors and tires . To put up so much money on the tour is crazy it’s maybe a break even night with weather. The ACT tour I think is a waste of money . Love the wings weekend. Tri track seems to be a crowd favorite. I would not have street stock tour with there 12 or so cars and even mini stock tour. Our fans want out drivers. If you don’t enjoy Teddy,Keith,Tyler,Gada and so many more great drivers in SK series. The mini stocks are a fan favorite as well as the rest of the classes and even on our week nights the Bandos had the best points race and those kids interviews are to die for. Little people with big expectations. The super x and x cars bring it and legends fill both nights with side by side action. Stop and smell the roses. We have a pretty darn good show without any other help. And we have great fans for decades.

  41. Frankie tree says

    And how about a cruise night once a month and maybe a big Rock a Billy show with bands. I went to one in mass and they drew 600 rat rods and some pretty nice custom stuff. No matter who’s in l want to help and I know if you have any suggestions let me know. Even Bruce wants to hear from everyone who has any ideas and people he can trust in. I’ll be there Saturday for fun show. Come talk to me.

  42. I thought Shawn did a fantastic job as GM. However, I was not at all surprised to hear he would not be back. If anyone listened in on the scanner to race control, every week sounded like complete chaos. I don’t know if they didn’t have enough staff, or if some of what they had was just incompetent. Shawn had his hands in everything…. from overseeing the parking lot, to a fight in the stands or the pits, to being in the turn 3 tower during every race making on track calls, dealing with tech, in victory lane after nearly every race…. I even saw him one week directing an ambulance through the gate outside turn 1 to a woman that needed medical attention. The guy worked his tail off trying to make the Bowl a better place, and will be missed.

  43. Lebanon Valley speedway does it right!

  44. Frankie tree says

    Paul , Shawn maybe looking for a part time gig do you have a opening ?

  45. Paul, you’re comment is exactly the issue with the bowl. A GM isn’t supposed to be involved to that extent on that level. Unless there is some form of management hierarchy, it doesn’t matter who the GM is…. they will all fail.

  46. Fast Eddie says

    Frankie, how about a Poker tournament for each Saturday category? Have one race a month be the Poker race. Ace = 1st, King = 2nd, Queen = 3rd, etc. After 5 months the highest hand wins and have some bonus money to give to the top 5 or more. Maybe those events could have a few more laps as well, maybe 5 extra keeping with the poker hand theme. The Saturday night racers would have a chance at some extra $$ that could be paid out in August.

  47. Fast Eddie says

    Frankie, a “light dawns on marble head” additional thought: Maybe one of the casinos would be interested in sponsoring some or all of those events. Maybe they could even advertise and promote one of THEIR poker tournaments!

  48. His nickname “Shawn the showman” was his down fall. Way to much fanfare that was unnecessary and extended the show to late.

  49. darealgoodfella says

    So Shawn is walking away from the GM position at Waterford to spend time with his family. Rob Fuller is walking away from the phenomenal chassis company he built that is undergoing extremely successful growth to spend time with his kids. Maybe their kids can set up play dates?

  50. The food is important!! says

    Maybe no more French fries cooked in margarine, BLEHH!!!! Worst prices for the worst food I’ve ever eaten at any track anywhere…
    Except the ice cream.

  51. darealgoodfella says

    Waterford has a unique opportunity in that it has a location close to a population density.

    When not running race days/nights, it could also put on car shows, cruise nights, etc. Other car centric events to get exposure for the facility, and get more people to the Modified events. Perhaps get Modified teams to put a car on display at the cruise nights.

    Mr. Bemer needs to get creative and find other ways to make sure the track is getting exposure and people see what is going on, to create buzz and excitement about the race events.

  52. They HAVE, HAVE, HAVE to get the time of these shows under control, Stafford and Thompson I have an hour drive and always get home a decent time. I live closer to the bowl and it’s always a late night when the big shows are in town. Don’t run heats when the tours are in town, less interviews, give the weekly guys more of the spotlight, it won’t take much.

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