Work Progressing At Speedbowl, Track Management Has No Timeline For Possible Reopening

A photo posted Wednesday on the Daniels and Sons Construction Facebook page from the New London-Waterford Speedbowl (Photo: Daniels and Sons Construction Facebook page)

It’s the most common question asked when it comes to the short track racing scene in Connecticut: What is happening with the New London-Waterford Speedbowl? 

It seems presently there’s a dynamic in play that goes against the norm, though not that that’s any sort of unusual occurrence for the track in recent years. 

Since late 2017 until the fall of 2019 at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl there was a lot of talk about plans for work to be done to replace the main grandstand at the facility, but little progress was made. 

Now it seems there is progress being made, but not much talking coming from track ownership or management about it. 

In recent weeks the track’s social media accounts have been peppered with photos and videos seemingly indicating that progress toward having a new main grandstand structure is taking place. 

But it seems photo teasing on Facebook is the only picture track ownership wants to paint at this time about progress toward the track reopening. The track hasn’t run an event since the fall of 2018.  

“Things are moving forward,” New London-Waterford Speedbowl general manager Mike Serluca said. “At this point we’re not going to put a timeline on anything or say much more than that. We don’t know what the timeline is at this point.” 

On Wednesday morning a photo of a dump truck at the Speedbowl was posted on the Daniels and Son Construction Facebook page with the caption: “It’s a great feeling being apart [sic] of the improvements at facilitates [sic] in the community! Check this awesome pic taken by Michael Serluca Jr. #speedbowl” 

Early last fall track general manager Mike Serluca said ownership had made the decision to stop talking publicly about any progress being made in construction or any expected timelines for work. 

Serluca took over as general manager late in the 2018 season. He announced a 22-event 2019 weekly racing schedule late in 2018 with a scheduled opening for May 2019. The main grandstand at the Speedbowl was demolished in January 2019. Expected construction of the new grandstand structure was slowed by numerous planning and permitting issues through last winter and into the spring. Through the spring and part of the summer of 2019 Serluca kept up an optimistic voice for the track with hopes for some racing at the facility in 2019. That never came to pass.

Last June New London-Waterford Speedbowl owner Bruce Bemer was sentenced to 10 years in prison after being convicted in April of five felony charges, including participation in a sex trafficking ring involving drug addicted and mentally ill young men. Bemer’s defense team announced plans to appeal the conviction immediately following the sentencing and Bemer has remained free on an appeal bond since his sentencing. It’s unclear when Bemer’s appeal will move forward. 

Serluca has not released a scheduled for the 2020 season at the track, but that doesn’t mean there are no contingency plans already in the works. 

Multiple divisions have announced scheduled events at the Speedbowl for 2020. The Modified Racing Series has tentatively scheduled events at the track in June, August and October. The Northeastern Midget Association has tentatively scheduled events for the track in September and October. The Granite State Pro Stock Series has a June event tentatively scheduled at Waterford. Former Tri-Track Open Modified Series operators Dick Williams and Jim Schaefer have announced they plan to run an event at Waterford in August. Bob Caritta operator of the American Modified Tour – which is looking to debut in 2020 – has announced that series will be at the Speedbowl four times this year with a possible fifth date added. 

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  1. Great to see some progress being made. Constructing grandstands is not something you rush in doing, but at least work is being done. Who knows, might actually see racing there in 2020. With the situation at Thompson, this is good news, especially for the mini stock, and sportsman competitors, but also the late model, and modified guys as well. Safety comes first though, so however long it takes. Wonder what other improvements will be made? Just my opinion.

  2. Going in the right direction and the weather is cooperating- doing a nice job Mike S

  3. As it turns out because of climate change or just a fortunately milder weather pattern you can do construction in the winter. Are those pre cast footings and stubbed out electrical conduit I spy. We need a construction interpreter to put the pictures posted by the Speedbowl in perspective.
    Crazy man. Sure it’s been a soap opera since the arrest but the entire history of the place is an epic drama with twists and turns spanning decades.
    I don’t know how you attract teams when they don’t know what the heck is going on during the time they should be preparing for a season but it’s the Speedbowl. Where literally anything or nothing is possible.
    They may not have a schedule, rules or target dates but they do have one thing. If you race at the Speedbowl in 2020 you’re re required to use a HANS device.

  4. Fast Eddie says

    Glad to hear something’s happening at the Speedbowl. Hopefully those “tentative schedule dates” will become real ones!

  5. Todd Carey says

    They need to open because I just cant wait to see the American Modified Tour Run. You know the series that last posted about the June Waterford cancellation last year. The series with no purse, no officials no drivers, no nothing. Its almost Feb and no one knows anymore about the series then they did when Carrita announced he was starting a series. Give it up Bob.

  6. Three months until May Blastoff !!!!!!!!

    🚀 🚀 🚀 🚀 🚀 🚀 🚀 🚀 🚀 🚀 🚀 🚀

    🤪 🤪 🤪 🤪 🤪 🤪

  7. If the owner has been judged and a punishment exacted is the cloud over the Speedbowl less dark. Is finishing the improvements and resurrecting racing at the Speedbowl some measure of redemption for the owner? Can the Gada’s, Tom Fox, Sid DiMaggio and all the rest that stayed away now consider opportunities that may arise there without any guilt. Is everyone free to see that the only goal now is to keep the track alive should racing actually start.
    Seems like the mood has shifted a bit since the verdict with less bitterness and more hope. Seems like the bitterness and disappointment has been transferred to Thompson.

  8. A great deal of construction can be done in a relatively short period of time, IF enough money is available and the weather cooperates. My fingers are crossed re: racing at the Speedbowl in 2020 …

  9. A little work being done is better than none at all. It would be great to see racing there in 2020, but would settle for ’21. I would imagine the rules would be the same, as when racing stopped, although might be wrong. Just my opinion.

  10. Maybe an abbreviated season with outside series and the regular divisions to fill the card. The outside series already should have their rules in place, we hope anyway, and the regulars can revert to the last season they competed rules. We will have to see as things progress.

  11. Maybe a six race schedule with a 75% purse reduction.

  12. It’s hard to predict if the speedbowl survives,cars sold, mothballed,or moved on to other tracks,touring divisions willing to support, Thompson seems to be in transition, I guess only time will tell. I guess my point is the more time that passes the harder it will be to restart.

  13. Yep GP, the stars have to align for the come back to work. Still the Bemer cloud hanging overhead as well.
    Time will tell!

  14. It’s hard to start racing nevermind restart, I wonder if the die hard will return, I sold my stuff and called it quits,I’ve spent many years there and would be heartbroken if it doesn’t return. But it’s a complicated situation, money talks and you have to wonder exactly how much would be available to undertake a huge investment.

  15. Well, if the place is to open in May, there needs to be dozens of skilled trade people out there working from sunrise to sunset. DOZENS. And perfect weather from here on out.

    And that means a HUGE 💰💰💰💰💰💰 burn rate.

    The worst thing the 🚽 has done is go silent. The fans, racers, sponsors, suppliers, police, emergency services, and partners need to know what is going on. But then, silence may be better than putting stuff out there that isn’t going to happen, given the history.

  16. Yeah with no commitment from them how could they expect anything from anybody else, Sad!

  17. Look at the condition of the facility today, and then realize a year ago the 2019 grand opening was announced for May 2019. Many of you are still walking around with leaders sticking out of your mouths, and are still engorged on sinkers and hooks.

    ⏱ ⏲ ⏰ 🚨 Three months to go until the traditional May grand opening.

    The 🚽 has to start letting people know soon. Everyone else also has to plan resources for this. They can’t just be told a day in advance they are ready to go racing.

    I’m stunned that some series are putting 🚽 dates on their schedules.

  18. Looks like Stafford will be the survivor but I’ll go to Lebanon Valley no offence to Stafford but it’s a definitely a fun night of racing at the valley.

  19. Earl is probably the closest to correct. Tours with rules in place, teams to show up, a base of fans and all they need is a date. The support divisions may be sketchy but as long as you have the headliner you’re probably in good shape. Add in enduro’s they talk about on Facebook a lot with X and Super X cars, Bandalaros and Legends, Top it off with Smacktoberfest and before you know it you have a kind of a season. Specials, all specials.
    Have any season just have a season. Just open. Then after that get a real management that can think further then the last mistake on Facebook and maybe there is a future for the Speedbowl.
    Best distance, best track surface, best spectator viewing of all the action in Connecticut.

  20. I don’t think a tentative date earlier than June has been announced. Whether any June racing is possible spends on $$ and weather. We’ll all believe it when we see it.

  21. Hillary 2020 says

    Bemer has spent and continues to spend tons of money on improvements. There’s no denying that.

  22. Well, clearly Bemer has not spent enough. And he hasn’t spent it in a timely manner, such that the place will be repaired, rebuilt, reconditioned, and fully serviced and operating.

    🎣 🎣 🎣 🎣 🎣 🎣 🎣 🎣 🎣 🎣 🎣 🎣 🎣 🎣 🎣 🎣 🎣 🎣 🎣 🎣 🎣

  23. Really so bemer can invest freely in the bowl?

  24. GP, Bemer owns the bowl. He should be spending copious amounts to get it up and running.

  25. not that easy darealgoodfella when your bank accounts have been frozen. But not to worry-there will be racing this summer.

  26. Carl Block,
    Court oversight of your finances and your accounts being “frozen” are two very different things. Bank accounts were never fully inaccessible. Enough with the myths.

  27. Of course they’re not frozen. Work is being done. On the other hand it may account for the slow pace seeing as how all expenditures must have to be overseen and approved by some court appointed administrator.
    It’s a freak show down there owned by a guy that will be doing serious time that may be ill and run by an amateur but it’s progress. Can’t deny that. As well as a possible link to a future where the track is owned and run by professionals and no one has to think about ethical or moral judgments before they plan a night out for the races.

  28. Work Progressing At Speedbowl, Track Management Has No Timeline For Possible Reopening


    NO TIMELINE???????? 🤪🤪🤪🤪🤡🤡🤡🤡😜😜😜😜🤣🤣🤣🤪🤣🤪🤡😜🤡🤪

    This looks to be all about the burn rate… how much does Bemer want to spend per week? Given his situation and advanced age, he’ll never see a return of the investment in rehabbing the facility. Given the damage to the reputation of the place, resale value will be very low.

    Carl, when the Bemer news broke, the reports were that his assets were frozen with the stipulation that he can carry on normal business. What this means, since it was obvious that he was going to be subject to huge civil lawsuits and liabilities, was that he couldn’t do property or asset transfers to leave himself apparently penniless, while converting and placing or transferring his assets such that they are not legally accessible. Hence, there is court oversight to prevent him from doing anything like that. Like OJ did when he transferred his assets to Florida where there are limits on access to assets, and those that sued him have not been able to get much from him.

    Clearly the State wants Bemer to operate the track and have income from the track. Even the state and town benefit when the track operates. It’s up to ownership to get it done. 🤑🤑🤑🤑🤑🤑🤑🤑

  29. So far, we have a winter with very little snow and looks to be the warmest on record. Might be able to do some sort of construction.

    No timeline? No serious business operates without a well defined timeline. Especially when they have not been able to open for business since the Fall of 2018.

  30. Sorry shawn;was not trying to justify religious beliefs or social customs.Just a widely held belief

  31. For all of you sidewalk superintendents as of today the new stands are going up.

  32. For the benefit of al you sidewalk superintendents nay waters you will happy hear as of today the grandstands are going up now you will need to find something new grip about.

  33. Tom s, the grandstands have been GOING UP for years.

    Let us know when the grandstands are up. Complete.

  34. Tom S,
    Before we start all sorts of chatter here, let’s just make sure we get factual information on this. As I’ve been told by management, the company constructing the grandstands was on site today preparing materials. The actual construction/raising of the grandstands is scheduled to begin next week.

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