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    Tuesday, November 29, 2022

    Speedbowl spokesman reverses Sunday lease announcement

    A spokesperson for the owner of the New London-Waterford Speedbowl is walking back an announcement that the semi-professional racetrack will hold races this year.

    After track management canceled the first spring weekend of racing, an anonymous post issued on the Speedbowl’s website Sunday declared plans to open to racers next month.

    “There is currently a working agreement for the Speedbowl to be leased for the 2017 racing season,” the post read.

    That post has since been taken down, and Chuck Coursey, a spokesman for track owner Bruce Bemer who is working with a law firm that represents Bemer's propane business in a separate case, said the announcement was "premature."

    "Although any announcement regarding a possible agreement to lease the New London-Waterford Speedbowl for the upcoming season is premature, management is working to preserve the upcoming season and jobs at the Speedbowl," Coursey said in a statement.

    He did not comment further on the lease agreement referenced in the Sunday night announcement.

    The Speedbowl has remained closed since it canceled its first racing weekend in early May, citing "additional work needed on the grandstands and the (unforeseen) weather conditions."

    Racing fans and drivers only have been able to speculate about the track’s future in the wake of Bemer’s arrest in March on charges that he played a critical role in a decadeslong prostitution scheme that lured mentally disabled young men into paid sex with promises of friendship, money and drugs.

    Since Bemer's arrest, several alleged victims have signed on to multiple suits seeking to freeze Bemer’s assets and those of another man who allegedly took part in the trafficking scheme.

    If the motion filed April 5 goes through, the court would take control of the assets of 64-year-old Bemer, including the Speedbowl, and William Trefzger, 72, of Westport.

    Both men are facing charges of patronizing a trafficked person in Danbury Superior Court. Although Trefzger remains in custody on a $250,000 bond, Bemer posted a $500,000 bond and was released March 30.

    The track’s racing director, a longtime race official and two other staff members all have resigned from the track in the wake of the allegations. On April 6, NASCAR announced it would terminate its sanction of the Whelen All-American racing series that was set to begin May 6, effectively ending the track’s major racing event.