Longtime Local Racing Personality John Brouwer Sr. Killed In Groton Accident

John Brouwer Sr. (Photo: Sids Vault Productions)

Former New London-Waterford Speedbowl historian John Brouwer Sr. was killed in an accident Thursday evening in Groton.

Brouwer was 80 years old.

According to multiple news reports, Brouwer was struck and killed by a motorists as he attempted to retrieve mail at around 5:30 p.m. Thursday.

Brouwer was known in the area as one of the most knowledgable historians of short track racing in Connecticut, most especially at the Speedbowl.

Brouwer was the track handicapper at the Speedbowl when his later father was a co-owner of the facility from 1961 to 1975.

In 1974, Brouwer, along with Dave Shippee, authored a book documenting the history of the Speedbowl from 1951 to 1973.

Despite not having any official capacity with the track in recent decades, Brouwer remained a fixture at the facility and could often be found sharing stories with media, racers and fans at the Speedbowl.

Brouwer has also been a major contributor to Tom DiMaggio’s Speedbowl Documentary project and has had a major role in segments of the project that have been released (see below).

Brouwer’s son John Jr. was a longtime competitor at the Speedbowl and remains a regular fan at the track weekly.

Click the link for more on the Speedbowl Documentary project.


  1. Wow. So sorry to hear. People really need to pay attention out there with driving. There have been many pedestrians killed by motorist in the past month. John, Sr, truly was a fixture at the Speedbowl for so many years. My thoughts out to John, Jr. and the rest of the Brouwer family during this difficult time.

  2. John was a good guy and a tremendous help to my crew’s historical projects about the Speedbowl. It was an honor to have him participate and embrace what we were doing. We will always be grateful for his contributions to not only our projects, but to the Speedbowl itself in many different ways over several decades. RIP John!

  3. Jeff Eilenberger says

    RIP Mr. Brouwer … You will be greatly missed … Your historical legacy will surely be well handled by Tom … Prayers to the family during this time of year.

  4. John was a great man. He was always sweet. I am sorry for the family’s loss. My thoughts and prayers go out to the family.

  5. Jeff Zuidema says

    Very Very Sad, great person and will be missed, deeps sympathys to the family

  6. Andy Boright says

    Read his column for many years in Speedway Scene. He wasn’t afraid to tell it like he saw it which didn’t always sit well with promoters. I recall a memorable spat he had with Dr. Dick Berggren in the mid-70s’ going on back and forth in the pages of New England Speedway and Stock Car Racing magazine between the two writers.


  7. My heartfelt simpathy goes out to the Brower family. John was a great individual and true gentleman. His presence will be missed throughout the racing community.

  8. I didn’t know him other than on the Speedbowl documentary. It was a real treat listening to his stories about the past. The amount of history he knew about the speedbowl was incredible. Thank you Tom for capturing as much as you could while he was with us. My sincere condolences to John’s family.

  9. Bill Sweet Jr. says

    So sad to hear. Our sincere condolences to John Jr. and the Brouwer family R I P John

  10. Very sadden about the news on Mr Brower.racing lost another great man and truly a Big part of speedbowl history

  11. Sorry to hear of John’s untimely passing. Had many great conversations with John and Dave through the years.

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