WATERFORD, Conn. – Adam Gada is not sure if he will ever race again on the New London-Waterford Speedbowl, a small Connecticut circuit that is part of his family, the life since it opened in 1951.
The third generation driver had his SK Modified car ready to go before the scheduled May 6 start to the season. Would he even bought a second chasse as a back-up.
But, a sex scandal involving the job, the owner is obliged to pay the Speedbowl closed this year, Gada, and others are waiting, and making contingency plans.
“I know a lot of guys don’t even want to watch the game, because of what has happened,” he said. “It doesn’t feel to me like it’s ever going to open. It just doesn’t seem feasible that it is open again, at least not this year.”
The track’s owner, 63-year-old Bruce Bemer of Glastonbury, was hailed as a savior when he purchased the Speedbowl in 2014, to save from the closure, and embarked on a renovation project. He is also owner of a number of other companies in the state.
Bemer was arrested in March and accused of patronizing a trafficked person in connection with what the government is, however, a long-term human trafficking ring based in Danbury. Many of the victims, authorities said, were young people with mental health disorders.
Court documents claim Bemer told the police that he had paid boys for sex for more than 20 years.
“I just want to ask everyone not to rush to judgment on the claims against Bruce,” his attorney, John Droney, said. “I am involved in an active investigation of the people who are making those claims, their motives, their backgrounds and their credibility.”
Nobody has claimed that something inappropriate has happened on the circuit.
Last month, NASCAR pulled its sanction for the Whelen All-American Series, the Speedbowl in the wake of the Bemer’s arrest. The track’s racing director, chief steward and several other officials resigned.
Past weekend, track officials issued a statement on the Speedbowl’s Facebook page, saying a lease deal was in the works that may make the race this season. But the post disappeared a few hours later.
“Although any announcement relating to a possible agreement for the lease of the New London-Waterford Speedbowl for the upcoming season is premature, management is working on the conservation of the upcoming season and jobs at the Speedbowl,” said Chuck Coursey, the track’s spokesman.
He would not comment on the question Bemer is trying to sell the job. Bemer is due back in court on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, drivers such as Gada roads and their possibilities. He is considering entering competitions this summer at the Thompson Speedway, about an hour north. But larger fields, because racers come out of Waterford, probably would make it more difficult to qualify for a feature event, ” he said.
Gada said that he still hopes to race in the bowl.
His grandfather’s brother ran there, just as his father, uncles, and cousins. No one makes much money doing it, ” he said. They are all race, because they have the love for the sport and the community that they have formed.
There is also a history. Drivers like Ron Bouchard and Jeff Bodine drove.
“This is our house,” he said. “Families who come to the cockpit went when they were children and now, they bring their children. But this whole situation now, well, it’s not very child-friendly.”