Radio Silence: Speedbowl Community Left Wondering About Remainder Of 2018 Season

The New London-Waterford Speedbowl

Kyle James has put together a career season in 2018 at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl, racing to seven victories in the track’s premier SK Modified division.

But on Sunday afternoon the Ashaway, R.I. driver was wondering if he would be getting the opportunity at any more wins this year at the historic shoreline oval.

“Are we racing Saturday [at the Speedbowl] or am I getting my car ready to take it to Stafford [Motor Speedway] for the Fall Final?” James said Sunday. “I’d like to know that. I’d like to put my sponsors out there one more time if I can. I feel horrible for my guys, horrible for the sponsors and the rest of the car owners and drivers and the sponsors of their teams.”

James, like many others associated with Speedbowl, has been waiting to hear what the future holds for racing at the track since an unexpected announcement on Friday evening.

A status update on the Speedbowl Facebook page, which was posted just before 7:30 p.m. Friday read: “Due to unforeseen circumstances, the September 15th races at Speedbowl have been cancelled. We will post updates on both Facebook and our website.” The same message was posted on the track website.

Nearly 48 hours later there have been no updates offered from track management concerning why the Saturday event was cancelled or if the remainder of the 2018 schedule will be run.

“I have not heard anything,” said James, who leads the SK Modified standings at Speedbowl and is looking to capture his first track championship. “Obviously I found out the same way everybody else did, via Facebook. I started to ask some people that I knew might have an idea what happened and I found that they found out via Facebook as well. That’s about the extent of what I know.”

The Speedbowl is scheduled to have three more Saturday events (Sept. 22, Sept. 29 and Oct. 6) and their finale event Oct. 20-21.

Attempts to reach track general manager George Whitney – who is leasing the facility from track owner Bruce Bemer – have been unsuccessful. Attempts to reach Bemer have also been unsuccessful.

The Saturday event that was cancelled at the Speedbowl was to include features from the Valenti Modified Racing Series and the Northeastern Midget Association. Series operators for both divisions said they were offered no explanation for the cancellation by track management. NEMA president Tim Bertrand was able to reschedule his NEMA and NEMA Lites features onto last night’s racing card at Monadnock Speedway in Winchester, N.H.

James said his team had planned on running both the SK Modified and Valenti Modified Racing Series events on Saturday.

“Obviously I feel, I don’t know, I don’t really know how I feel,” James said. “It sucks for us as drivers, but that’s not even really, that’s not … the part that sucks the most is really for the guys working on the cars. [Last] week we were planning on going there with our weekly [SK Modified], but we put together the [Valenti Modified Racing Series] car and spent the last two and half weeks or so in the shop every single night, between three and six hours a night, putting this [Valenti Modified Racing Series] car together to go to the track and have two potential winning cars. To find out 12-15 hours before, that’s the most dejecting part of the whole thing. All those hours these guys put into these cars to just kind of, not even get an explanation. I guess that’s rough.”

On Saturday Speedbowl management posted an update on their Facebook with details concerning their scheduled Wild and Wacky Wednesday banquet coming up on Wednesday at the track. The track also created a Facebook event page for the Wednesday banquet. On Sunday morning the track posted a status update remembering the late Ted Christopher, who was killed in a plane crash one year ago today. But as of 5:45 p.m. Sunday there were no updates or information offered publicly on Facebook or the track website regarding the cancelled event or the status of any events left on the schedule going forward.

“The people that support us, their businesses are giving us money to put their names out there in front of fans,” James said. “With rainouts we lost eight chances there [this season]. That’s Mother Nature, we can’t do anything about that. We don’t need an explanation for that. But, whatever’s going on, if we could get … at least get … we don’t need super details, it would be nice to know something.”


  1. Just an outstanding piece putting it all in perspective for the racing community. Mostly the cost to people trying to plan, working hard and being shut out of the network they invested so much in.
    Even if you assume the worst, even as management of the track circumstances beyond your control have blind sided you. Even if you’re taking a financial hit as management it’s common decency to let those that put on your show know what’s going on.
    Mike Serluca, a shining star, has performed triage numerous times building bridges between teams, fans and RaceDayCT. The fact he apparently is shut out with nothing to add as far as information is just a major disappointment.

  2. Unfortunately the track has taken a new management approach and it is called “noneya”, none of your business. Great way to keep the competitors and fans apprised of what will happen with the balance of the season. Kyle, I feel your pain and hope everyone gets an answer soon.

    Lack of management team strikes again!

  3. Mike Serluca says

    I posted the thing about Ted on there this morning.

  4. Geoff Nooney says

    Everyone should stand by the track and stop kicking the management in the shins. Unfortunately, we all gotta wait and see what happens, but negativity towards the track is not needed in these unfortunate times, everyone has put a ton of work into their cars this week including myself, and we are all hoping to go racing again. But just wait to see what happens before everybody starts slamming the track. Hoping for the best.

  5. If it is an issue with a state agency I doubt they would have any additional information over the weekend as most state offices are closed. Hopefully, we learn something Monday when offices are open for business. Even then, they may not get a definitive approval or denial to reopen. However, it would be nice to get an update from the Bowl as to why the sudden cancelation and what are their plans going forward. Are they going to try to reopen or just call it a season. At a minimum, I think they owe their supporters that much. Waterford hasn’t done a good job of communicating with their fans, touring series, and drivers this year. I can see how its been a frustrating year for all parties with the rain, long rain delays, last minute cancellations and makeups on random days (Wednesday and Sundays).

  6. I agree geoff but a tiny tidbit of info would quell all the water cooler talk. “Due to unforeseen circumstances any issue arose …… were working to resolve this. Done, over, speculation solved. Instead nothing and i mean nothing from them. Why?? It sounds like a DEP/EPA thing from comments but again why not let your teams, fans, sponsors, supporters, track workers, people from your inner management (mike serluca), dear god. I want the bowl to stay open and thrive but can we ger a new lessee in thier who knows how to communicate with any one person that gives 2 ….. about the place.

    People may bash the place, they bash all of them doesn’t mean they don’t want the best for them or to board it up. Staffords late model and limited late model divisions sucks right now. Its a scheduled pee break. Thompsons admission and concession price are crazy and there more concerned with the road course than the oval. Waterfords bathroom is atrocious. Everyone has issues with all of the tracks.

    See its easy i got em all in one post. Hope the bowl recovers. ive always enjoyed the racing there.

  7. Hillary 2028 says

    Has motor jam been canceled?

  8. Fred,I love the open air pee room at Waterford.It reminds me of being a kid there in 1968.

  9. SpeedbowlFailsAgain says

    Are you kidding me Fred. You’re comparing Stafford’s low late model car counts and Thompson’s high ticket and food pricing to the Speedbowl shutting down 12 hours before one of their biggest events of the season?? Enjoy the Kool-Aid brotha

  10. Haha mike im glad the bathrooms bring you back to your youth. For me they were substandard at best. Maybe they got updated too, i dunno i haven’t been there in a yr. No teddy, no rocco, among other things i haven’t been interested in the long drive down.

  11. Hillary 2028 says

    If you believe everything you read online, then today it’s sounds like the DEP issue already had been resolved. Which now makes things sound more ominous.

  12. Where did i compare that? My gripes arent meant or supposed to be equal. I merely stated fact with regards to waterford and there apparent disdain for showing respect to people that support, work or races there. If you can’t tell the difference between my two paragraphs then you’ve probably drank too much of the kool aid you purported i might enjoy. For the rest of you it was merely an example of my dislikes of all the tracks. None are equal or meant to equal.

    Btw 7pm one night to 7 pm the next night is 24hrs. Keep drinking though.

  13. I still don’t get why people like the name I won’t mention continue to slam the TRACK as seen above. You do realize it’s not the tracks fault. It’s the people who operate the track. If you’re gonna bash something, bash the people who you should really be talking about name for name or maybe you don’t have the fortitude to do so. And if you don’t, keep your mouth shut. Not only did they hose the fans, they hosed the racers, teams, the sponsors and the employees, perhaps they had no choice but to cancel it so late. You can throw around rumors, say what you want but no one knows what is going on except for Whitney and possibly whom ever is taking care of the social media and it’s not Mike. Mike was doing a bang up job until he just got pushed aside. I’m not sure why George needs to keep everything a secret but, it sure would be nice to let the people that support the track know about what is going on because now, everyone is loosing confidence in managements ability to do much of anything for the racers and teams which is simple as communicating.

  14. Hillary 2028 says

    Don’t worry folks. I think we’ll find out what’s going on shrortly. I don’t think James and others will be worried just about where they’ll race for the rest of this year, but for years to come.

  15. …NO COMMENT…

  16. Mike, thanks for all you have done for the speed bowl and responding to me in a timely manor this season. I am just as dumb founded by this as everyone else. There has to be a legal reason they are not commenting and canceled a big show with suck little notice. i see there are no updates today. Like so many others, my hope is the dark cloud above the speedway passes soon. The place needs a new owner with deep pockets and a passion for this amazing sport.

  17. Have Beamers other businesses been closed?

  18. Geoff Nooney said; “Everyone should stand by the track and stop kicking the management in the shins.” Then who’s fault is it? The fans, the competitors? Managements fault, case closed end of story. Stop kissing butt, its not going to get you a trophy.

    Lightsout said; “You do realize it’s not the tracks fault. It’s the people who operate the track.” Whaaaaaaaaaat? Come on man, are you serious?

    Lack of management, lack of effective communication, lack of common decency to the fans and competitors, strike 3, your out………………

    Hillary, for once I agree with you, I hope it is not true however, it is looking bleaker every day.

  19. Agree with racer28. The best thing that could happen, would be for a new owner with a passion for the sport, and deep pockets. Sounds like the track is in serious need of infrastructure improvement, and that’s not cheap. But I feel the current management owes an explanation to at least the racers.

  20. I agree with you Rob. They owe an explanation to all of us to that love the bowl and want to see it be successful. I think in due time we will find out more. I am sure Shawn will break the story eventually. That’s why I think it’s coming from legal. Why else would they be so tight lipped? The one good guy they have in Mike and they don’t both to tell him? None of this is good for any of us. So many questions unanswered like when and if they will reopen this season.And so much more. Maybe Wednesday if they have the party to celebrate wacky winners someone will find out something or better yet an official announcement of what going on will happen. They have to update at some point this week to at least let everyone know about Saturday. The dark cloud gets worse and worse just when you think it can’t

  21. Viva race fan says

    Bruce put up 5 million in assets and cash for legal from a court order . He still owns and they run bussiness as usually. Let’s see what’s the news is today. Love to see a truck stop if he closes the track. It’s a perfect spot to avoid the weigh station on 95. But if not let’s see what Bruce wants to do for the people who didn’t support him thru this. I told him it’s his track and run it but he seemed like maybe he thought he would be berated from some people and l told him if so have them removed. We need to stand behind him till the court thing is over. Then and only then we can judge. The civil suit is just so the lawyers can pad their pockets. that will happen if he’s guilty or not. so the best recourse for the track is let’s see what the news conference has today. and if Bruce is staying the owner. Maybe we should support him until said court date.

  22. If it’s sold. How about Shawn Monahan?? He could have the critical bowl to add to his critical businesses. There is a devils bowl. He has my vote as he and his brother have a life long passion for maintaining the success of the bowl into the future. Like him or not, he put a lot of blood, sweat and elbow grease into that place. He could have a field day marketing to all those critical of the bowl in the last 5 years.

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