Dick Williams, Jim Schaefer Planning Tour Type Mod Event At Speedbowl In 2020

Jim Schaefer (left) and Dick Williams (right) (Photo: Tri-Track Open Modified Series)

Dick Williams and Jim Schaefer are looking to get back into the Modified racing promotion business. 

When the former operators of the Tri-Track Open Modified Series announced in November that they were parting ways with the series they had founded in 2014, Williams said they were looking to find a path to putting on some new events again. 

And that path has led to them to the New London-Waterford Speedbowl.

Despite the fact that the Speedbowl was closed for the 2019 season, the Williams and Schaefer are putting their faith in the track being reopened for the 2020 season.

Speedbowl management tore down their main grandstands structure early this year. Plans to replace the structure ended up stalled for much of 2019.

“The Racing Guys” organization that Williams and Schaefer have termed themselves as since 2014 sent a out a Save The Date card to selected race teams announcing an Aug. 29, 2020 Bill Slater – Ed Flemke Tribute at the Speedbowl.

Williams told RaceDayCT in November that he and Schaefer and their “The Racing Guys” promotional group had spoken with management Claremont (N.H.) Speedway and Thompson Speedway about putting on events in 2020.

Williams was not immediately available for comment Sunday morning.

“It’s pretty much out there,” Speedbowl general manager Mike Serluca said. “We’re going to do something with them. It’s going to be a tribute event to [Ed Flemke Sr.] and [Bill Slater]. We’ve got it down for the 29th of August. That’s all we’ve ironed out right now.”

The Williams/Schaefer organized event marks the third promotional entity to announce events for the Speeedbowl for 2020. The Northeastern Midget Association recently announced their 2020 schedule, which included two dates at the Speedbowl. Bobby Carrita, founder of the American Modified Tour, announced his series would run four events at the Speedbowl in 2020. Carrita’s series has been in the works since 2018 but has never run an event.

Speedbowl owner Bruce Bemer was convicted in April of being an accessory to human trafficking and patronizing a trafficked person. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison, but remains free on bond waiting appeal of his case.

Speedbowl management announced a schedule for the 2019 late in 2018 and then the track began moving forward in the long awaited project to replace the track’s main grandstand, which had been targeted for replacement by town officials for about a decade. The grandstand was leveled last January.

Serluca said Sunday there’s no way to put a firm timetable on the grandstand project.

“I’m real gun-shy with anything right now,” Serluca said. “It’s not because I’m trying to withhold information. I’m just afraid of putting myself out there for the second year in a row and have something happen that makes me look like a bigger [jerk] than I did last year.

“I’m cautiously optimistic for [2020]. But with the way things went for [2019], I’m very gun-shy about putting out anything. Like saying we’re opening in May or we’re opening in June. I don’t even have timelines from the construction company yet as to when we’re going to be ready to go here. And I know to pinpoint any times for them is kind of impossible. … Obviously we’re at the mercy of Mother Nature at this point.”

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  1. Awesome news

  2. So now we have to pay to get all of the article ? WOW

  3. https://www.theday.com/article/20190621/NWS01/190629853

    How’d that work out?

    And we are expected to pay for news about that nonsense?


    Shawn, have you driven by the facility? Have you visited and reviewed the facility? Can you report on the FACTUAL status of the construction, including the planning and permitting that is required BEFORE site work can happen? That will carry more weight than anything you get from Serluca.

    There has been too much Lucy yanking the ball from Charlie Brown going on here for several years, I hope you can understand the need to see confirmed facts. Previous reported news as facts turned out to be turds. No fault of yours… garbage = garbage out. Charlie Brown isn’t going to pay to get further abused by Lucy.

    Watching paint dry is more exciting than watching nothing happen at the ‘bowl.

  4. JimB,

    Nobody’s making you do anything you don’t want to do. If you don’t want to read it that’s your prerogative. You’re more than welcome to go read the news about this at all the other local short track racing websites you visit. I’m sure they all had their own stories on this subject that they published today.

  5. Well if all these proposed dates happen, Amt-5 races
    MRS-2 Races

    That’s 8 Tour Type shows, to pull that off they need to open by May at the latest. Maybe they will maybe they won’t but at current pace this seems like another fantasy.

  6. Another Hoax, will believe it when I read the race results.

  7. For the life of me I can’t understand why they would do this at a track that has at best a 50-50 chance to open in 2020. Then you add the fact the a lot fans sill refuse to go there. We’re there no other tracks to put together an open show.

    What is going on with Thompson? They drop the 4th tour race, then they drop ACT, then they drop PASS. The one thing they haven’t dropped is a 2020 schedule.

  8. GSPSS has also scheduled a race at the bowl. ?????

  9. Hillary 2020 says

    I’ve been by the track a few times lately. There was work being done with the heavy equipment each time. Last week the water department was out in front marking lines on the property.

  10. On dec 4 late in the afternoon i went to the speedbowl and saw 3 men working in the area of the grandstands. There was material added to the area since the last time i drove by i asked how it was going and one answered they were working on drainage and they had proper permits It was good to see progress! Hopefully there will racing in 2020

  11. Looker, did you say “drainage”. I thought they said that was already completed, and they were starting work on construction since “all of the electrical and plumbing was completed”. It’s great that they have permits but that is work they had said was already completed a while ago.

  12. If Serluca was certain there would be racing in 2020, he should be making sure it was all over the news, press releases galore, in the media, FB, updated internet presence, etc. The ‘bowl is a business and it needs to make sure the public knows that it is open for business. Oh, wait…

    This is looking like a deja vu all over again. At this point, who will believe anything about the place?

    Winter begins in a couple days. Not exactly construction season.

  13. Should atleast update rule book for 2020 so teams can update cars if need be. Problem #1 is opening for buisness, getting staff hired and figuring out race control. Problem #2 getting cars in pits and people in stands. Nobody is working on #2, just opening and praying everyone comes back is not gonna cut it, track will take a beating with these high dollar purses.

  14. So the guy that plasters every nuance of his life across social media is now the shy coquette granting mere coy glances and half smiles to the Speedbowl faithful. At the same time the legendary founders of the TTOMS are making a deal to reprise their TTOMS success at a place that regardless of the time of year or existence of stands still has the same big old black cloud hanging over it.
    Fans and competitors don’t get to chose the ideal local race track they want to race at they race at the track holding races. If the track opens competitors and fans will come just like they did post scandal for two years. . All I can say is thank goodness for Stafford because that Speedbowl deal is a freak show and they treat you all like crap.

  15. Looker, thanks for the update! At least something is happening down there!
    Rich, a slight correction to your count:
    TTOMS = 6 — 2@Seeknonk, 2@Monadnock, 1@Star, & 1@Claremont
    WIlliams/Schaeffer = 1
    MRS = 5 — 3@Beech Ridge, 1@Star, @ 1@WMWP
    …An even dozen so far…

  16. A correction to my correction: Along with the above are the 4 Stafford “Open Modified” events and the 75 lap race @ NHMS, which makes 17 “tour type” events..

  17. Too many “Doug” screen names around here.

    Doug wrote, “All I can say is thank goodness for Stafford because that Speedbowl deal is a freak show and they treat you all like crap.”

    Too damn funny. 😄 😁 🤣

  18. Hillary 2020 says

    I think you’re a little confused. Rich is talking about the the tour type events scheduled at the bowl which is 8.

  19. Then let’s add the WMT schedule and you are up in the the mid 30’s. Where are we going to get the butts in the seats from? You will need a part time job just to afford to attend races!

  20. Read this very carefully:

    Serluca said Sunday there’s no way to put a firm timetable on the grandstand project.

    “I’m real gun-shy with anything right now,” Serluca said. “It’s not because I’m trying to withhold information. I’m just afraid of putting myself out there for the second year in a row and have something happen that makes me look like a bigger [jerk] than I did last year.

    “I’m cautiously optimistic for [2020]. But with the way things went for [2019], I’m very gun-shy about putting out anything. Like saying we’re opening in May or we’re opening in June. I don’t even have timelines from the construction company yet as to when we’re going to be ready to go here. And I know to pinpoint any times for them is kind of impossible. … Obviously we’re at the mercy of Mother Nature at this point.”


    Even the biggest and best jerk can’t look any worse. It’s just no longer possible.

    Apology accepted!!!


    Look, at this point, if it is unknown what it will take to get this done, it can only mean that the folks running the show are without a chance of a clue. And/or simply are not appropriating the funds. It’s that simple. Still don’t have a timeline from the construction company???????? WHAT???? It must be well over a year now. The stands were taken down like. year ago. Send some 💰 their way, you’ll be amazed how that works.

    Little over four months to go until May, the traditional opening month. Good luck with that.

  21. I’ve always had respect for jim I don’t know mike probably a nice guy also I still say how can anyone associate with someone who has no moral compass.Shaun any word on the low life scumbags appeal.I understand you don’t want to lose a racetrack

  22. Correct Speedbowl has 8 TourType Modified shows, that is alot and unless open early enough they will have back to back Tour Type weeks wich will not be good.

  23. Well, no matter what has been said, and Tweeted, not an inch of new border wall has been built. NOT AN INCH. Salesmanship vs reality.

    No matter how many races are scheduled for the Speedbowl in 2020, the fact that the place is a shambles and there’s only four months to go to get the place built speaks more truth than any planned or scheduled races. We’ve been down the announced season schedule before only to end up going nowhere.

    I have to think that any plans for racing at the Speedbowl are written in pencil and can be easily erased.

  24. The speedway has only missed one season – you guys act like it has been 5 years. the speedway grounds is in better shape then it has in a long time – new walls, new catch fences ect.ect. soon to have new grandstands (although i liked the ones that were there).. It’s pretty clear that there are a lot of racers that want to race at the Speedbowl. Hopefully it happens this year. Even if it is only available for mid week practice and track rental.

  25. People stated they saw work being done. One question, are they getting to place ready to race, or put into a coma? Parking lot drainage was mentioned. There’s an old saying “dirt cheap” dirt is anything but cheap, and those who work it demand top dollar. First step is planning, then come the geologists ( because you need to know what’s under the dirt) if they find contaminated soil, in come the environmental people(very expensive) if all goes well, then you need to get the permits. Then finally the work can start. And this is a long drawn out process. Then on top of that all of this takes money. If Bemers assets have indeed been “frozen” then, no money, work halts, and we’re back at square one. Even if everything goes to plan, you still need racers in the pits, and fans in the stands, something given current management may prove to be harder than expected. Personally, I’ll believe it, when I read the race results not before, and I’d still be sceptical that there would be a race the following week. The smart racers should build cars for other tracks, and forget about the bowl until new owners and management take the reins. Just my opinion.

  26. A sanctioning body would also help

  27. “Well, no matter what has been said, and Tweeted, not an inch of new border wall has been built. NOT AN INCH.”
    That is not an up to date observation. Actually a goodly amount of “new wall” has been built to replace existing structures. With regard to new wall in areas previously containing no barriers 8 miles of original barriers is going up in the Rio Grande Valley.
    My sympathies to all the Speedbowl faithful out there including rich and steve. It’s your track. You want to go there on Saturday nights. In the mean time you have to read all the abuse from all of us that never called Waterford our home track. It’s just a bad deal all around.

  28. Any wall being built now was debated, approved and funded 8-10 years ago. It is replacement, repair and maintenance work on existing wall. Not a single new inch of wall. Congress, which controls the budget, has not appropriated any funds for new wall. Mr. President has not found a way to leverage, or quid pro quo, his way around that. Mr. President has shut down the Gov’t to get the wall funding, and lost. He has threatened to shut down the Gov’t again to get wall, and lost. Any reports of new wall are showing the replacement wall work that was approved 10 years ago. Privateers have been illegally building wall, that was recently ordered to be taken down by a Federal Judge. Fox News is not licensed as a news bureau, it is licensed as an entertainment entity.

    Now read this:

    “I’m cautiously optimistic for [2020]. But with the way things went for [2019], I’m very gun-shy about putting out anything. Like saying we’re opening in May or we’re opening in June. I don’t even have timelines from the construction company yet as to when we’re going to be ready to go here. And I know to pinpoint any times for them is kind of impossible. … Obviously we’re at the mercy of Mother Nature at this point.”

    It has been a very long time. Very long time. No way at the mercy of a construction company this long. A job like this would be firm, fixed price, the construction company wants and needs to get the job done as fast as possible, get paid and move on to the next job. If funding was there, construction companies would be clamoring to get his done. ✅ And as for weather being an excuse, or explanation, what the hell was going on all Spring, Summer, and Fall? Please don’t try to say that the weather is now holding things up.

    Put up the damn 💰 💵 and get the job done!

    The track appears to be put on life support. Waiting for something, most likely the disposition of Bemer’s spitting charges, bond violation, HIV status case, and appeal of his conviction for trafficking. If it is revealed that he is HIV positive, his civil liabilities will increase exponentially.

    And let’s be real here… every construction company knows what’s going on and that getting paid will be risky, so upfront payments will be required, or some very tough contract terms. But given how the State has already put dibs on the property as assets against future claims against Bemer, no construction company will go near this place unless cash is paid upfront.

    A job like this would have had several subcontractors and dozens of workers. Instead, we read from passersby that they saw three guys. 🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣

  29. Darealgoodfella,
    There has never been any reporting of confirmation from the courts or ownership that the track has been put up as any form of collateral toward future civil judgments. On the contrary, it has been reported that the owner did put a very large sum of cash in escrow very early in the court proceedings which was earmarked for possible civil judgments. And while it has long been talked about by many that all the “assets are frozen” and that the property can’t be sold, all of that is unconfirmed and assumed myth. There is certainly oversight of finances, but that doesn’t mean the subject can’t spend the funds needed to properly operate a business with court oversight. It also doesn’t mean the subject can’t sell the property, though obviously any sale would come with court oversight. Most of the people who very regularly talk publicly about how things can’t get started/finished or sold because all the assets are frozen are making uneducated statements as a way of trying to show of the imaginary law degrees they earned from the University of Facebook.

  30. I know he thinks he knows all but Dadope is obviously not in the construction business

  31. Maybe Dale Jr and Michael Waltrip can clean up and scan the track for I-racing, because right at this moment that the only way I see racing happening anytime soon.

  32. Rich & Hillary, sorry i didn’t read the posts right. I can’t imagine the speedbowl getting in all those events. Maybe half if they open.

  33. Just googled “New London Waterford Speedbowl” and clicked the link to their website. All stories dated back to the 2018 season, no new news. Case closed!!!

  34. NY Times 11/8/19
    “Nearly three years after President Trump took office, the two steel squares, newly installed and still incomplete about a mile north of the Rio Grande, are the first new sections to be built of the wall the president has promised to construct along the 1,900-mile southwestern border.”


    I’m not going to suggest it’s a significant achievement. Nor that it’s an effective use of tax dollars or will even work. Only that to suggest not one inch of new wall has been built is factually incorrect.

  35. Shawn,

    Not sure I ever wrote or saw that the track specifically was included as part of any collateral, or was not. It was reported that Bemer had to put up $25 million in ASSETS against future claims. That was not specifically and exclusively cash. It was reported as assets, which can include non-cash assets such as property. I don’t think Bemer had a spare $25 million in cash laying around, or liquidated real assets to raise that $25 million as cash. It was reported that the courts have limited what he can and can’t do business-wise, limited to normal day-to-day expenditures, so the business properties are most likely part of the $25 million collateral. Why else would the courts impose limits on what he can do with his businesses? Now parts or all of some properties may be included in that $25 million amount. Look up the values of his properties, makes no sense at all that he had a spare $25 million in cash on hand. If someone has $25 million in cash on hand, they are worth many, many times that. Look up the values of his properties. His house is valued at less than a million. If somebody with his lifestyle personally had at least $25 million sitting around in cash, he doesn’t live in a house worth less than a million dollars with about a 2 acre lot. He would own a countryside estate the size of a small town with a heliport in his own backyard. If he was sitting on $25 million in cash, it would be pocket lint for him to pay for the track to be rehabbed, numerous times, and deluxe at that, since he bought the place for a mere $1.75 million. To not open and operate the facility prevents any revenue. Get it open to get it producing revenue. But no, that didn’t happen. Someone that was flush with tens of million of dollars in cash didn’t or couldn’t see the value in spending pocket change to get a track operating, but chose to let it sit idle, costing and losing money while not producing revenue. Bemer bought the bowl for $1.75 million. If he was sitting on at least $25 million in cash, he could have funded the stands and whatever in the blink of an eye. But no, it sits there, idle, losing money. No sign of ever opening again.

  36. Darealgoodfella,
    I’m not going to debate the semantics of his lifestyle choices are how he makes decisions with his finances. I don’t think you know his true worth, and neither do I. I would caution you though not to judge someone’s total worth based on where they live or how they choose to spend their money. All that said, again, the point I was trying to make is that nowhere has it ever been stated that the track property is part of what’s been set aside as part of possible future civil claims. You stated: “But given how the State has already put dibs on the property as assets against future claims against Bemer …” I’m telling you that you can’t state that as fact because you don’t know if that’s true and nor do I.

  37. I have an idea I would like to toss out there. Serluca had his say on the potential for 2020 now how about someone contact the Town of Waterford since they really hold the golden key on how the Bowl will proceed for 2020. Permits, permits and more permits and let’s see if they are in place and approved to proceed with the work to make it a possible reality.

  38. Aside from all this back and forth, I hope this race happens and appreciate what the racing guys are trying to put together, if it happens I’ll be there to honor these two racing legends!

  39. I think you’ve got a better chance of seeing racing at Waterford on I racing.

  40. Bemer and his lawyers settled numerous civil suits according to the Courant last July so someone is getting something.

  41. Ahhhhhhhh…. now I see your point, Shawn.

    We know the courts have put limits on what he can do, and that means spending money beyond normal business needs. I recall the reports stating that he is only allowed to conduct normal business activities. Rebuilding a race track facility is hardly a normal business activity. The deplorable condition of the track may have allowed him to buy it for a good price, but rebuilding a racing facility is hardly a normal business practice. The cost of the rebuild can easily run into the very high six figures, or more. If there is any environmental remediation, it can get very expensive. Might even approach the purchase price.

    Clearly, the work is not getting done at a gainful rate, the money is not being spent at a productive rate. What is getting done per reports of the passersby does not appear as if it will have the place open in the next few years. Although the track is scheduling events for the 2020 season, the manager refuses to comment on the future. It clearly appears that the spending rate is limited somehow, to the minimum needed to create an illusion that the place is legit. If the track does not do this minimum activity, it can look like it is shutdown and the town may have to act, such as inquire if the track will ever operate as a racing facility again. Perhaps the races being scheduled are just for appearances. If the track refused to schedule races, it would be a significant tell that it ain’t operating as a racing facility. Either Bemer or the courts have severely limited the spending rate. Bemer is incurring costs and losses with no chance for revenue. He’s paying taxes, insurance, Serluca, those three guys, utilities, etc. and the investment is not paying for itself. It appears that Bemer is doing the minimum to make it look like the place is functioning and legit. He knows he has to spend money and fast to get the place operating and generating revenue to stem the hemorrhaging. Therefore, it appears that the track is part of the collateral offered up as part of the $25 million required by the state against future claims and the state’s limits on spending is limiting what is happening. What needs to be spent can be close to what the state can get in a liquidation sale of the track, so that spending would reduce what the net the state can recover, hence the state will probably not allow such a large expenditure that will not be recoverable in a liquidation sale.

    And the state’s restriction may not even apply to just certain assets offered up as collateral, but may apply in general, across all businesses and assets, collateral or not, to limit a reduction in Bemer’s estate value. Or to prevent Bemer from directing assets to places where the state and victims can not get to them. Let’s be real, the court cases could very well outlast Bemer, and his victims will be going after his estate. Hence the freeze on his assets.

    And there has been a perfect storm surrounding the track. The town was clearly at the end of allowing “one more season” before shutting it down because of the dilapidated condition. There appeared to be a long history of “one more season”. So Bemer starts this track rehab and then gets in all this legal trouble that appears to be getting worse and worse, and impacting what he is allowed to do with the track. Made for TV drama for sure.

  42. Yes, civil suits based on what was known at the time have been settled. If it is shown that Bemer was HIV positive, that opens a whole new world of damages and claims.

    Bemer is presently fighting a related court order to establish his HIV status.

  43. Doug, the GW Bush/Cheney regime tried building wall. They went about it the correct and proper way, and there are still dozens, perhaps hundreds, of courts cases pending or otherwise wending their way through the courts. The big issue is the Govt taking land by Eminent Domain, not a good idea, especially in Texas. I don’t think the GW Bush/Cheney regime has resulted in any wall. Trump goes and does stuff by neglecting the laws and regulations, and then deals with all the lawsuits. This is what he is doing now. Whatever wall may have been built, it wasn’t done in compliance with regs, laws, etc. and it is being contested. Privateer walls have been stopped and ordered taken down. Remember, Trump ran on a platform of law and order.

    Regarding the track announcing plans to open, or not saying anything about opening. Look, at this point, the track should clearly know if it is going to open or not. Either it will spend the money to open, or not. Creating a perception that it will open, going through the motions as if it will open, and then not open, might be considered fraud. Not good for those running the track. You might get away with it once, but again? I don’t think so. 🤣🤣🤣 Then those that spend money getting ready to support and participate, such as teams, sponsors, suppliers, vendors, police, ambulance, etc. can have some very legitimate claims.

    Preseason tickets for sale yet? 🤡🤡🤡🤑🤑🤑

    That Schaeffer and Williams are aligning with the Speedbowl is bizarre. They can’t have the track go, “Oops, my bad, sorry we aren’t operating.” Furthermore, Schaeffer and Williams will probably only put on a couple shows, and losing just one race could be a huge loss.

  44. Regarding the wall that’s all opinion, much of it I wouldn’t disagree with.
    All I am trying to do is concentrate on one fact. That more then an inch of wall has been built and more being built funded by money diverted by the president from other programs under his executive power. I not opinionating on it. Just that it is a fact. One fact.

  45. Shawn, can we get an answer from the Town of Waterford on whether the permits are in place or not? Lets hear it from the horses mouth. No permits = no work, permits = work can commence. Then we have something to debate rather than all the speculation.


  46. A lot of you guys respect these two men for what they did with the TTOMS. Recently they’ve been viewed as a package alone with the other racing guys. However they are two distinct people. Schaeffer is the Long Island link, a complement too Willams and a bit of a late bloomer with regard to race promotion. Dick Williams is a local racing guru. Deep roots in race promotion including under Harvey Tatersol at the Speedbowl. His local racing story is pages long and includes a chapter on Ed Flemke’s last job with Mr.. Williams as race director.
    One day there will be a memorial race for Dick Williams. If it isn’t at Waterford under a new management it will be at another track and hopefully that track will be in Connecticut. There is nothing Long Island about Dick Williams. He’s a Connecticut guy and as important to local racing history in his own way as Flemke and Slater are in theirs.
    Using names is more about promotion then it is honoring. It’s about using life long accomplishments to create a historical link and sell tickets. Nothing wrong with that but don’t the circumstances surrounding the race matter? Wouldn’t you want the venue to be as solid as the guys you’re honoring?
    Flemke, Slater and Williams are Connecticut guys that made their bones primarily at Connecticut tracks. Thompson was mentioned as a site for the race but may not be interested and it is after all not the ideal for a Williams/Schaeffer event. Waterford is the only track in Ct the right size so here we are.
    It’s cold with a half inch of crusty ice on the ground. Great for sledding so good for the kids. But I can see the race clearly from the lens of next summer with the track up and running and the race on the immediate horizon. The connection of local legends to hard, divisive feelings that ultimately will become a topic more then an honor associated with the race is a mistake.. It will exclude people simply because of the hard feelings rather then bring them together. Furthermore I’m going to suggest the Dick Williams who is Connecticut racing royalty in waiting is thinking with his Speedbowl memories and not with his head.
    Most of the RaceDayCt audience wants nothing more then to see the Speedbowl resurrected and racing again and especially under a new management. However everything about it from the spring of 2017 to this exact point in time has been sketchy. If the race comes off next summer and the ownership is the same it will continue to be sketchy. I’d suggest to Mr. Williams with all due respect that he should not want local racing to reflect a memorial race using two great names as well as his own at a sketchy track still split by hard feelings.

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