Breaking: New London-Waterford Speedbowl Officials Put Start Of 2017 Racing Season On Hold


After weeks of speculation concerning the start of the 2017 racing season at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl, track officials confirmed Wednesday that the season opening event at the track will not be run May 6-7.

The track released a statement announcing the decision to postpone the season opening Blastoff Weekend event, citing concerns with grandstand issues at the facility.

The statement did not address any further racing this season beyond saying schedule changes will be announced in the near future.

Scott Gregory, who is currently overseeing management of the facility, said he could not comment any further than the statement released.

New London-Waterford Speedbowl track owner Bruce Bemer was charged in late March with patronizing a trafficked person. Since that arrest Gregory has repeatedly said that track officials were optimistic the racing season would start on time.

The statement from the track Wednesday read:

“Due to unforeseen circumstances, Blast Off Weekend scheduled for May 6th and 7th has been postponed.

Although much progress has been done to open for our Blast Off Event the recent findings of additional work needed on the grandstands and the unforseen weather conditions of most recent, has forced The New London Waterford Speedbowl to postpone the 2017 Blast-Off event.

All efforts are being made to reschedule the event in its entirety as Management reaches out to those touring divisions originally scheduled to attend to possibly find a suitable weekend to run the Blast Off event.

Changes and updates to the 2017 schedule will be announced on the NLWS website & facebook page in the near future.

We apologize for the unforseen delay and Thank all who have been patient while we push to begin our 2017 year.”

Before the release of the statement, Modified Touring Series founder and owner Gary Knight said Wednesday afternoon that Gregory told him Tuesday the track was prepared to run the Blast Off Event next weekend.

The Modified Touring Series was expected to be the anchor event of the Blast Off weekend. As of Wednesday afternoon, Knight and other officials from his series, were insisting in Facebook postings that the series was running an event next weekend at the Speedbowl.

Despite the Speedbowl posting the postponement statement on their Facebook page and their website, officials from the MTS were still seemingly trying to portray publicly that their event would still be run. About 40 minutes after the Speedbowl announced the postponement of the Blast Off Weekend a statement was posted on the Modified Touring Series Facebook page which read as follows:

“The EXIT Realty Modified Touring Series is going to make a press release as soon as we can. We are going to be making phone call and after we get the facts we will than make a release. We want the fans and teams to know that our position on the Waterford Speedbowl and our dates has not changed nor will it until we have been told our dates are not valid any longer. We suport the Speedbowl and its fans. Thank you for your time and understanding sincerely Gary A Knight”

Bemer was the high bidder in a foreclosure auction of the Speedbowl in October 2014.


  1. Shocker!!!!

  2. Fast Eddie says

    Hopefully this is not the beginning of the end and the grandstand issue is legit. There were 2-3 years previously that had grandstand issues causing problems at the beginning of seasons. I remember going to a few events when sections were blocked off due to safety concerns. The weather certainly could have messed up any grandstand repair schedules as well.
    Glad to see the MTS willing to support the track and the fans! Hopefully others will do the same!

  3. darealgoodfella says

    Fast Eddie, the beginning of the end started a few weeks ago.

  4. Billy Parker says

    V E R Y misleading title… The season?? The Entire season? Umm NO… So far it’s just One weekend…..

  5. Word on the street no need for grandstands.The seating in turns 1 and 4 would be plenty for the room!!

  6. Big surprise there, not!! At least the track said something official. Gary Knight needs to stop talking. Like he has any control of this. He’s out there telling everyone they are racing May 6th even after the track announced they aren’t opening. You can’t make this stuff up. It sounds like the MTS racers all knew it was coming.

  7. I am not buying anything they are selling here. How are you are going to run a race one week before the scheduled date with zero help. Everyone has bailed, no officials, this is all a smoke screene, quit pulling our chains and tell us the truth. We deserve it if you want our support.

  8. Grandstand issues = no one will be in them.

    Weather issues = “whether” or not the track could have been leased to someone to operate, especially with the victims trying to freeze Bemer’s assets.

    Articles in the Hartford Courant today were probably small but final factors:

  9. darealgoodfella says

    I thought the grandstands were repaired, replaced, and renovated when the present owner took over. Strange that there would still be issues with the grand stands.

    Billy Parker, if the OPENING event is postponed with no rescheduled date, then the entire season is in jeopardy.

  10. The stands have needed repairs and have been worked on every year for quite a while. The only way they could be fixed for good is if they were completely replaced.

  11. Something tells me if the case has been continued for another three weeks, nothing is going to change for at least another three weeks. It just sucks that they waited until the last minute to release this BS statement.

  12. One section was “fixed” when the 2015 season opened but the track was told by the town that the grandstands would need to be completely replaced and were given until this year to do so. I don’t call putting up new boards on some sections completely replacing. With the two articles in the courant today about his hearing today, I can’t say I’m surprised by this. And with another hearing next week and the week after could be why the opening was pushed off.

  13. The only thing that can save the speedbowl is to have someone buy it.Untill that happens it should be shut down.Suspending all events now is the only respectable thing to do.If it closes that will not be the reason.The place needs Nascar,Inex,Mr.Rooter and sponsors that aren’t ashamed or worried to survive.This will take whatever time it takes to shake out.Reopening without this stench about the place will be the easy part.

  14. Grandstand isues? really?? As a long time supporter of the bowl is the truth really that much to ask for? poor grandstands? ok well why not just install the new ones that are on site just sitting there? could it be because all the money is froze and everyone has quit and nobody will go as long as he owns it? could be.
    We all know whats up I do not condone mr bemers actions but i love the track. If it is imply tied up n court pending sale approval or anything really just say it straight updont make false statements which only make i guess the 1 person still affiliated withthe track look like a horses backside and insult all of our inteligence. Hopeful but unsure at the moment pending further legal issues would have at least been honest. Good luck to the bowl….its going need it

  15. To get any perspective on the situation you need to read Josh Kovner’s article in the Courant 4/26/17. In it he lays out the scope of Bemer’s vast business interests in Ct including the Speedbowl. He eludes to some frenzied effort to complete a sale of the track to “a hastily formed group of investors”. He also talks of another frenzy that has less to do about grandstand safely and more to do with multiple laws suits and lawyers seeking to freeze assets of Bemer’s empire in the hope of gaining settlements against him at some point in the future. That is the real race afoot here.
    You can believe in unicorns and fairy dust all you want. The frenzy of wrenching on race cars at the last minute to ready them for a season of competition pales in comparison to the frenzied legal maneuvers that are going on behind the scenes now. Grandstand safety may or may not be a legitimate excuse to buy time to gain some clarity on a dire situation. Regardless, an invisible tsunami is washing over Bemer’s business interests now. Race fans want to open their umbrella’s and hope for it to pass but it isn’t going to. Maybe for years.

  16. Bill Realist says

    I wonder how tough it was to keep a straight face writing that press release? Didn’t really say anything about safety just said work. Additional work to fill them maybe?

  17. darealgoodfella says

    Bemer’s case will be in Court for years. The criminal case goes first, then the civil cases. That will be years and years.

    And the Court is doing as required by law, and the law does not require the court to hurry up so the racers and fans can go to the NLWSB next week. The law is not required to do anything to accommodate the racers and fans of the NLWSB.

  18. First of all nothing is froze yet. Second, what about all his other business’s. Are they all shut down? Do they have anyone willing to work for him? If the town not approving certain things is a lie then what is keeping opening weekend from happening?

  19. darealgoodfella says

    They are looking for more lipstick to put on the pig.

  20. It appears that all of his other business are just that, business that operate 52 weeks a year not a seasonal race track that operates at best 5-6 months out of the year. How exactly to you run this business with no help? And the town, they can’t issue the permit to open unless all conditions that were identified have been addressed especially if they are safety related or the town would be assuming a potential liability.

    As I said previously this is all smoke and mirrors and 2+2 is adding up to 5 here. I just wish someone from this organization would tell us the customers the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth!

  21. Sad very …. loved taking ferry to the bowl… hopefully they get their crap together. Well anyway would love teddy and kidroc join the boys Saturday nites at riverhead. Hell bring everybody, more the better the racing!!

  22. Hey come race riverhead raceway ! Would love to see it . Just a ferry ride away … good luck to all.

  23. I’m sure that any other businesses he owns where people bring their kids to aren’t doing very well either.The reason the Speedbowl isn’t opening is the fact that most people can’t stomach the owners actions.People starting bailing immediately.There are some who don’t even need more lipstick.As Trump would say “Sad”.

  24. darealgoodfella says

    Has anyone confirmed that the Town actually did an inspection that resulted in these “findings” that are allegedly causing the delay in the NL-WSB opening? Shawn?

    The grandstand issues are all known and should have been resolved by now, and certainly not an “unforeseen” issue.

    The track is doing everything it can to hold onto to any remaining series, racers, sponsors and employees. And that means making like all is well.

  25. darealgoodfella,
    I can confirm that there were issues with approval for the grandstands for this season prior to the recent legal issues. As of right now, I can only go on the word of the track management. The town isn’t saying anything.

  26. darealgoodfella says

    Shawn, the town isn’t saying anything? If the town conducts an inspection and has findings, isn’t that now public record that must be disclosed? The public must be made aware of the safety issues at the facility. How could the Town not say anything?

  27. Dareal, I believe the town has only an obligation to disclose to the property owner which obviously they have. Dont forget the facility is inspected annually by the town prior to issuing the permit to operate and when the owner satisfies all the conditions then the town issues the permit. If you are so interested in what the town knows, pay them a visit and let us know what you find out. My bet is they tell you to contact the owner.

  28. You want the stands issue to be real. God let it be real and the hope for a season still alive. Unlikely.
    Racing is a fragile flower that must be supported and nourished. Promotion is the lifeblood of the fragile flower. The scandal involving the owner is the opposite of promotion.
    The good news is that Stafford had heavy turnout for testing and tuning today at the track under brilliant skies and I do believe some Waterford SK’s and Light cars were there participating.

  29. Does it even matter if it’s the grandstands or something else? It ain’t opening next weekend. It’s all fine and dandy that “management” is putting this out there but someone still has to write the checks to fix grandstands, buy concessions, pay for safety personnel, etc. I would imagine that is the issue. The owner probably isn’t too motivated to spend $$ to get the place operational. As Doug said, you can’t run a business on unicorns and fairy dust. Takes money to make money. On to Stafford!

  30. Victor Phillips says

    There are certain people who write in that seem to be glad if the bowl was to close. They don’t want to see the place come back from the grave, they want to lock the gate. Many of the people that go to the bowl have stood by it through thick and thin; before nascar, before the legends organizations, truck series and any other modified division that they think needs to be in attendance to open. We always had the bowl’s people and that’s always been enough. If we are able to run it doesn’t matter if tour divisions are competing or not. I see a stall tactic. If the stands issue could be fixed quickly the rest of the weeklies are ready to go. Our opener was rained out and was held 4 weeks after the season started one year. We are waiting. Not even a practice? Or is this all a big lie?

  31. DJ Speed Racer says

    Does anyone have any information to share regarding Seekonk for Sat night racing until the bowl figures out what they are doing? Thanks, I need my racing fix lol

  32. Victor Phillips says

    We don’t need the grandstands to practice! WHAT’S UP???? While fixing the race dates we don’t need a tour series to open.

  33. Victor, nobody want the bowl to close. But far too many bowl people spewing nonsense in the face of reality. People are in denial.

    Seekonk schedule remains the same as it has the last 65 yrs. Racing every Sat from May thru Sept. Same divisions. Dillion Moltz ran their late model division a few yrs ago when he left Waterford . He had a good amount of success and from his comments, really enjoyed the experience. Opening weekend next week is a Sunday show. Then every Saturday for the home of Pro Stocks.

  34. DJ Speed Racer says

    NH Mark thanks, I would rather go to the bowl. But as we all know it’s not going to happen until the dark cloud over it moves past it. I hope it’s sold quick which I don’t see happening this season. I hope I am wrong

  35. Man I think of all the people that have a vested interest in the Speedbowl’s season or lack of one and just wonder at the lack of information. Really, NLWSB is a black whole of information. News papers, Facebook, nothing.

  36. The track has been closed indefinitely from a good source. Why?? Take your pick.

  37. Only the Judge on the Bemer case can approve or disapprove the sale of the track. Which I’m sure isn’t one of the Judges priorities. May be in it for a long haul.

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