New London-Waterford Speedbowl To Kick Off 2017 Season On June 24

The 2017 racing season will gets its engines started on June 24 at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl.

George Whitney, who is leasing the facility from owner Bruce Bemer and serving as the track general manager, confirmed the opening date being set Thursday morning.

Whitney also confirmed that the track will host an open test session on June 17.

The opening night of June 24 will be anchored by an event from the Valenti Modified Racing Series.

The Valenti Modified Racing Series will also return to the track as part of the annual Wings & Wheels Night on Aug. 12.

Whitney confirmed that he has been in talks with NASCAR in an attempt to bring back the Whelen All-American Series sanction, which NASCAR rescinded following the arrest of track owner Bruce Bemer in early March.

“I’ve talked to the people at NASCAR,” Whitney said. “Nobody has told me no yet, so we’re just sending them the paperwork and working on it.”

The season had originally been scheduled to start with Blastoff Weekend May 6-7 before the legal issues arose.


  1. Liz Cherokee says

    I hope Waterford gets a WMT race too! It’s just a ferry ride away from and to the the Hamptons!

  2. Bystander says

    Ok pom pom cheerleaders. Have the stands been approved for human consumption? Or will that be the next reason the gates don’t open again?

  3. The stands are fake news. Hope the opening goes well and NASCAR comes back.

  4. Looks like dareal has got a super fan. Guess if we want to sit anywhere, we’ll just have to bring our lawn chairs.

  5. Crazy in NY says

    From Doom and Gloom to Boom and Swoon!! Good….no great news to be sure. Wish the TTOM race hadn’t been switched to Star (but I fully understand why it was). Hope all goes well for the rest of 17′
    for one of the best asphalt tracks around.
    Dareal….your dismissed for the balance of the season.

  6. angry little gnome says

    rich, Don’t laugh, it was done at the former Three Palms Speedway in FL for a couple seasons. They dubbed it “BYOC”…

  7. Everyone is so happy that the speedbowl is reopening but has anyone stop to think about what this is really doing for the bowl. Beamer still owns the track so he is still going to make a money off this deal. As much as everyone says we don’t support him you still really are. As far as this lease agreement with George it is one of the most shady deals that anyone has heard of. Everyone thinks he is this big hero for saving the bowl but really isn’t. Not only Is he is basically a puppet for Beamer. He is also is covering up the guy behind the scenes Mr Beebe. Some people may think this is very far fetch but think of if. Not only did he work and set up the legend cars for them. He also works for them for a living. Why put it in Beebes name when he already had connections to the track before. All three of these guys are all friends. Another question you should ask yourself is why won’t Beamer sell the track. He had people interested in buying it but by having him lease the track out he has a way back in. If some way he doesn’t get found guilty then he can take by his track. Why would NASCAR come back they didn’t want to be associated with Beamer. Yeah Beamer won’t be running the show but he still owns the track.

  8. darealgoodfella says

    Joe is right.

    Just get someone else to open the track with a layer of insulation, make it look like Bemer has nothing to do with it.

    It’s the old shell game.

    Because people fall for it.

  9. Bob Freeman says

    The court as frozen all of Bemer’s assets to ensure potential settlement money is available to victims. Under the court order, Bemer could not sell the track or any of his other assets even if he wanted to – at least not without approval from the Courts and it is entirely too early in the process for that to even be considered. Those who think the legal system will resolve this matter within a year are sadly mistaken. The legal system can take MANY years to resolve a case. I am aware of cases taking 10 years and still not being resolved. George and his family are good people – likewise for Beebe if he is involved as you indicate. At this point in time, a lease is the best possible scenario for the Speedbowl’s survival as a short term resolution to the legal matter permitting a clean separation from Bemer is unlikely to occur. Moving forward, people can make their own choices.

  10. It is wonderful to hear the news of the Bowl opening. According to previous posts on this site, it stated that the court would allow Bemer to conduct business and living expenses but not allow him to sell assets. I would presume to think that he could not be allowed to sell the Speedbowl due to that order. Besides which , he spent money replacing the walls, catch fence, scoreboard, concession stands, electrical work and who knows what else to improve the facility. That money plus the original price tag adds up to a realistic outlay of money that would take years to recoup if possibly ever . Even with lease payments, there is no way that he is realistically making money. I do not condone what he did but I will definitely support the track and its racers. Keeping a ” I will not go because you will be putting money into Bemer’s pocket ” is really a ridiculous statement if look at the financials . Don’t support the track and we might lose it forever.

  11. darealgoodfella says

    It will take a couple years for the criminal trial, and then the appeals. Once those are concluded will the civil cases begin.

    Better hope the lease arrangement works.

  12. The only thing joe said that was wrong was in the spelling of mr Bemers name . As far as going to this track I will not be supporting it in any way, shape , or form until that guy is out of the picture . I say this after a guy I know said he is going racing there when it opens . JMHO . It will be interesting to see the car counts and crowd . I’m not a betting man but I don’t expect much of either

  13. justafan says

    Look this is real simple people, if you dont like the deal simply stay home. I myself will choose to go to the races as long as they’re are races to go. what ever ends up happnig happens,new owner same owner if found innocent,lease and so on i dont really care at this point. Bottom line i have been going there for 35 years and will continue as long as its there. Once its gone its gone forever. Now should come opening day if nobody shows up to race(Highly unlikely) then so be it. As long as they are racing i will be there. All this legal stuff is for other people to handle. If you dont want to go simply stay home…very simple

  14. Seems like some of the same people who stiil can’t come to grips with the results of the November election are getting their undergarments in a wad about the Speedbowl re-opening. How could the same people be wrong over and over again? But I do admit they can be quite entertaining. Personally, if the stands aren’t ready I will be glad to stand up and watch until the seating is completed. LET”s GO RACING!

  15. Muddbus461 says

    Correct me if I am wrong but isn’t his propane business still operating?Have people boycotted that business?Let’s be happy that this place is opening and that we can enjoy great auto racing.

  16. If his assests are frozen why go through the motions to sell to wren. The headlines weren’t Beamer can’t sell track if I recalled. It was wren backing out.

  17. So Whitney says he is unclear how the entire schedule will work out for the rest of the season other than the MRS event on the 24th and it appears the wings & wheels in August. Something tells me that there will only be special events this season. There are too many logistics that need to be addressed for this to work out smoothly in the short time frame he has. I wish him luck however if it does not work out it could give the track a black eye it may never recover from.

  18. Joe is right about what exactly because I don’t have a clue what he’s talking about. Who’s covering up Beebe and for what reason? Who put what in Beebe’s name? Whitney sets up cars for Beebe. Wow, how scandalous. Beamer Whitney and Beebe are good friends? That’s the reason why it’s opening? And tell me dalawyer, what should exactly be done, or better yet what can be done?

  19. Well enlighten us. Why did Wren back out?

  20. So here are my questions. Who is paying for all the upfront costs now? Bemer or Whitney? It’s great they applied for a NASCAR sanction but who is paying for it? Bemer or Whitney? If not a lot if fans show up on 6/24 who is paying the purse if the gate doesn’t cover it? Does Whitney have a bottomless pit of money to pay for all this if losses occur? Seems like a big investment for Whitney not knowing what the gate will be after this big mess. Unless the money is still coming from….

  21. Joe…. I bet you’re fun at party’s?
    Joe, are you going to stay home when the Bowl opens? I hope so.
    I, for one, don’t need your negativity within 100 miles of myself.

  22. Mark Blackburn says

    Ultimately any profits will end up going to his victims when it is all said and done

  23. Man this is exciting. VMRS should assure a respectable crowd. The SK’s should be out in force and the SK Lights as well. It’s the Speedbowl. They have their own fan base and it should be fine. Supporting the good guy that is leasing the track and continuing the tradition will only enhance the chances for a successful sale down the road. The accussed will pay the price for his actions in spades. It’s time to move on and enjoy good food, cold beer and great racing at the shoreline oval.

  24. Billy Vee says

    What a world. With everything to do and other tracks to go compete / spectate at you all lay on your belly and slither right back to that track and help enable putting monies back in his hands. Many years ago a comment was made in Speedway Scene and I thing that here it is so fitting, Scotty Beam Me Up There Is No Intelligent Life Down Here. Fire away but you support putting back in his hands you are scum bags also. Fire Away, I’ve been beamed up and can’t see what your rambling is saying.

  25. Glenn 08 says

    Good Luck George Whitney, I am looking forward to great racing in two weeks! Oh ya for the people with all the negative comments please stay home, this is a happy place for race fans and competitors!

  26. So Beamer might still be paying his bills, so what. Who cares where the money’s coming from. Last I knew he was still the owner. What are you implying exactly? That if it’s Beamers money paying the purse then the drivers shouldn’t accept it? At least the purse will be paid.

  27. Anything is possible at this point but I’m not sure why he would bother even contacting nascar if he wasn’t planning running the rest of the year weekly. I’m actually surprised that he’s even bothering with nascar at this point. Really no need for it.

  28. Edward Ryan says

    Good question rich I would like to be enlightened. Why did wren back out if he did at all ?? If I recall that story broke before the assets where frozen and wren was rumored to have an agreement in principle long before that. His kid races a pro-4 and they are at the dog this weekend so chances are he will be there, maybe someone should ask him. I do believe that chances are better than not that he will not answer questions concerning the bowl because he can not. That would not be unusual in sales of that size, especially with the circumstances surrounding why it was being sold, if it was. Perhaps it was never the owners intention to sell the track in the first place, or he changed his mind and he wouldn’t close the deal. One thing I would bet on is if questions are asked that wren won’t answer then there was a deal in place and he wasn’t the one doing the walking. It is Connecticut any gamblers?

  29. MARK STANTON says

    The Bowl has a 56? year history, with Mr. Bemer being just a tiny spec of that time, the drivers, employee’s and others have worked hard to enjoy the sport we all love, so stop wining and just stay home, if you don’t agree. Mr Bemer is not the first owner, nor will he be the last. I find it interesting that so many here are full of comments but afraid to use a real name. If you speak your mind but hide behind the keyboard, does what you say really matter? I don’t think so………..

  30. angry little gnome says

    A few quick bullet points on what we know
    • Bemer’s legal situation has put the ‘bowl in a precarious position once again.
    • darealdumdum never has a positive word to say about anything ever.
    • If a racing event does not happen in 2017, we could quite possibly lose the bowl permanently due to the loss of it’s grandfather clause.
    • Racing is better than not racing no matter who is in charge and could help save the Bowl’s future.

    Some of the comment’s here are what really is starting to hurt racing badly. What person in their right mind would want to purchase or operate a property, and what companies are going to want to support and advertise with the property or it’s entertainers (the racers) when negativity is thrown around so freely and gives the sport a negative aura? It’s not healthy.

  31. darealgoodfella says

    Looks like Bemer is acting in the background, per the comments, and that means that he is doing the minimum he can to keep the track operating and save that rumored precious grandfather clause. If he loses that grandfather clause, the track is most likely done, and Bemer is out a small fortune.

    So don’t be surprised if the track has a minimum schedule, bare bones, minimum support, minimum concessions, “season”, with the off-off-off-off-broadway series at best.

    The best and possibly the only way to save the track is for Bemer to sell, and he knows it. He knows he has the leverage. He and his team see all you folks that will patronize the track no matter what. He’s hoping there are enough to reduce operating losses to something reasonable over an extended time until the smoke blows over.

    Selling now while under court control is not likely, there will be expensive battles and negotiating that the buyer would not want to be involved in. Unless Bemer gives the okay and makes it easy.

    But you that are desperate to go racing at the ‘Bowl in 2017 are making a better and better case for Bemer to hold out. You are showing how highly valued the track can be. Instead, you should be convincing Bemer to unload the track. Sacrificing the 2017 season for the future is a much better idea. Make it clear that nobody will run or go to the track will force him to sell for his own best interests.

    This is about what is right, wrong and real.

    Positivity, negativity, aura and all that other fluff won’t produce a damn thing.

  32. We’re almost there aren’t we. The place where all the rumor and speculation end and it becomes a simple decision. Go or don’t go. If you decide to go to the Speedbowl you’re not a bad person. You aren’t supporting a wrongdoer or anything of the like.You’re going out for an evenings entertainment. Check that, great entertainment. The Speedbowl fan base is regional and pretty strong . If there’s a race there they’ll go. And the punishment meted out to the accused will be no more or less nor will it benefit or hurt him one iota.
    It’s coming down to who has a dog in the hunt and who doesn’t. The outsiders can whine and complain and try to make this more then it is but that’s almost over. It’s simply a night out supporting the teams. The show isn’t the track it’s the teams. The teams are the show and they’re just folks trying to have a good time like you.

  33. darealgoodfella says

    Doug, are you the same guy that tried to convince folks go to the NLWSB to make more money for Bemer and hence his victims?

  34. Victor Phillips says

    Well some say it’s a trick. Let’s see if NASCAR thinks so. I myself don’t really care if they come back or not. I supported the Speedbowl before Bemer, before Eames, way back when I use to help load hay to make money to go every Saturday night in the 1960s. As far as I’m concerned if you don’t want to go, DON’T!!! It ain’t going to spoil my good time, Without NASCAR it will be cheaper for me to get into the pits . I haven’t gone to any other track this year. Waterford Speedbowl has been my place to go. Only wish I had the money to buy it. That would end all the bull.

  35. You really think it will be cheaper to get into the pits because there is no NASCAR sanction? I don’t think so, no way they are going to drop the fee when they can make a little money for no reason at all. It us all about making money to cover the expenses.

    I believe they are going to see how things go on the 24th, gauge the attendance/car count, look at the revenue vs. expenditures and develope a schedule from there. Good night = more dates, bad night = less dates. Only issue is it will be difficult to gauge things because of the MRS being there vs. a regular night race card.

    We will see what happens, I plan on being there and hope it all works out for those involved.

  36. I say if you’ve been a supporter continue to do so, support the drivers and every last employee who depends on the fans. to me this isnt even about bemer, he will see his day in court and im sure it wont be pretty. this is about supporting everything else involved. support your passion for racing.

    I too was around in the 60’s and remember why i loved it so much, guys like Newt Palm (L&M) and Seabury Tripler (M) in the first automatic transmission modifieds we’d ever seen, the Gada brothers, Bill Sweet in the purple people eater daredevil, Bob Potter, daring Dick Caso, Fred Fuzzy Bear deemed by the announcer as the most eligible bachelor in racing and Walt Dombrowski to name a few.

    Looking at some of those old cars, at the track, on the weekends they have them on display with the un padded steel bucket seats shows the toughness those guys all had.

    anyways, thats my drive down memory lane. and for that im thankful to my grandfather who was director of the speedbowl back in the day for instilling that passion in me.

  37. First it’s “drivers and fans won’t go if beamers still the owner”. Now daidiot says nobody should go in order to save the track. So I hope the stands and pits are empty on opening night. Apparently that’ll be better for the future of the track… Besides it gonna be an off off off off off off off off broadway event anyway. Probably won’t be any pepperoni pizza either just cheese if we’re lucky.

  38. Man that entry of yours DTW was great. When you were at the Speedbowl I was at Danbury RaceArena watching Chick Stockwell, Don LeJoie, Geno Spada and Kenny Webb. I’m a Stafford guy now, on old Street Stocker from the 80’s and the Speedbowl is a haul for an old guy. But if the skies are sunny I’m making the trip to support the employees and teams. The owner will get his just deserts whether I or anyone else is there or not. The Speedbowl lives.

  39. I may be a little before you guys, Red & Russ Foote J2 and 8 ball, Don Collins 106, Ted Stack 44, Dick Bureguard 53, Bill Slater V8, Charlie Webster 716 just to name a few. I even remember the Art Barry 909 just don’t remember who drove it. The Speedbowl was where I grew up and never could venture north for many years.

    Speedbowl is not going anywhere if everyone plays their cards right. It just may take a little time to recover.

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