Racer, New London-Waterford Speedbowl Pillar Richard “Bubby” Brouwer Passes

Richard “Bubby” Brouwer in 2010 at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl (Photo: Nicholas Teto)

Part of the charm of the New London-Waterford Speedbowl has always been the weathered and aged feel of the facility.

And for any facility with weathered and aged as a description, there typically is a need for a person that understands deeper than most the special needs that come with keeping all the patchwork and tattered features operational and intact.

For the New London-Waterford Speedbowl that man was Richard “Bubby” Brouwer.

Brouwer’s relationship with the Speedbowl began as being part of a family that was part of the fabric of racing and management at the Speedbowl, but for the better part of the last two decades he had been the man charged with being the chief caretaker of the facility.

Brouwer, of Waterford, passed away Tuesday. He was 53.

“He kept it all running,” former track owner Terry Eames told RaceDayCT Tuesday. “He put his heart and soul into the physical plant part of it. If he needed a tool he bought a tool. He equipped a special truck to have all his tools and everything right there. I’d say ‘Bubby, you going into business for yourself?” He’d say ‘No, I’m just doing it for this.’ He just, he was a great friend to everybody. He was always there to help. It’s very difficult to put Bubby into words. He was a very special character. He’s going to be really missed.”

Eames was helping track ownership in 1994 to get the facility ready for the season.

“One of the pivotal things I did was I put together – even before I was managing the place – at the request of the owners I organized a crew to work all night to weld on the ARMCO Barrier so that the [Department of Motor Vehicles] would let us race the next day,” Eames said. “And he was one of the people who showed up to help with that. We kind of established a friendship from that and eventually I hired him.”

Eames owned the track from 2000 to 2014 and Brouwer oversaw the facility during the entire span.

“I gave him a job and wow, I never had to worry about the place again,” Eames said. “He was the kind of guy that if he didn’t know how to fix something it would keep him up night. He would just keep asking questions. Once he discovered the internet it was great, he could find more things. But before that, he’s just keep asking people and just take a thing apart and figure out. He was always gruff and grumbling, ‘Ah, I can’t fix that truck, you’ve got to get rid of that one boss, you need something newer.’ Then he’d come back with the thing running, no matter what it was. ‘Ah, you can’t fix that thing, throw it out, throw it out.’ Then the next day he’d say, ‘Ah, I got to thinking and I think I can do this, I think I can do that.’ And he’d always fix it. He’d always fix it.”

In 2014 current track owner Bruce Bemer acquired the facility as a part of a foreclosure auction and Brouwer stayed on under the new regime.

Longtime racer Shawn Monahan spent 2015 and 2016 as the general manager of the facility.

“I looked up to Bubby as a child before I could even drive a car,” Monahan said. “He worked at my Uncle’s repair business for about 10 years when I was a young kid that would ride my bicycle down to my uncle’s shop. He got involved in auto racing while he worked at my uncle’s shop.”

Free Play Unmuffled Quickcast: Remembering Richard “Bubby” Brouwer

Monahan said Brouwer knew “every nut and bolt to the entire facility”.

“He was the MacGyver of the Speedbowl,” Monahan said. “I think that’s the best way to put it. You name it, when something went wrong. Of course the track has its problems with flooding and you could count on him to drain out that entire infield. He knew where to put the pumps, how to get it down the fastest. When the coolers broke down, he knew exactly where to go.

“The track has been patched over the years to just stay in business and he knew all the nooks and crannies of how to keep it going. He was vital to me and the daily operations at the track. It’s sad now for anybody to not be able to call him up and say ‘Hey, what can we do here?’ There’s going to be a void missing at the bowl and unanswered questions. He’s extremely important to the facility.”

During his racing career he had 31 victories at the track. Thirty of those victories came in the SK Light Modified division from 2006-2010 when it was known as the X-Mods. He won championships in the division in 2007 and 2010. His lone Late Model victory came in 1988.


  1. Viva race fan says

    God Bless you Bub…. You’ll be Missed .

  2. Mike Serluca says

    Very sad day for the Speedbowl family. Terry said it best. Very hard to put into words a description of Bubby Brouwer. I’ve had many a great conversation with Bubby over the years. Most times at the track, and the best times at his house with a few cold ones. I will definitely miss Bubby and the phone calls and everything else that crazy dude would do. So very sad to lose such a character. A guy I grew up watching race and then years later, worked with on a daily basis at the track. R.I.P. Bubby.

  3. Vicki Strickland says

    You were a long time friend and client of mine. I remember many nights in your garage helping with the car, well at least I watched. You will be missed my friend. Rest In Peace.

  4. Bob Freeman says

    So sorry to hear of Bubby’s passing. RIP!

  5. Tommy silva says

    I’ll never forget his first win in the yellow 16 late model owned by bob darling. he was leading Phil rondeau just passed halfway and the race was called due to midnight curfew. I was only 11 at the time but always remembered how happy he was that night. RIP BUBBY!

  6. Tommy silva says

    I remember bubbys first win in the yellow 16 late model owned by bob darling. As the midnight curfew approached bubby was leading Phil rondeau when the race was called. I was 11 at that time and to this day will never forget how happy he was that night. RIP BUBBY!

  7. I remember Bubby, He was a cocky kid, He told me he could drive anything, So I put him behind the wheel of my Welding Works sponsored SK Modified, #40 owned by NMRacing. He gave me more than a few scary moments, but in all he did alright. RIP BUBBY!

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