These are not the 2017 NASCAR race results anyone would want or desire. The arrest of businessman Bruce Bemer has resulted in drivers being left in limbo after NASCAR terminated its sanctions with the New London-Waterford Speedbowl, a small Connecticut racetrack that opened way back in 1951. The sex trafficking charges left Speedbowl’s future uncertain after police said Bemer paid boys for sex for nearly 25 years.
The FBI began investigating in January of 2016 when a probation officer complained that a mentally disabled man diagnosed with schizophrenia and paranoia had been involved in sex trafficking and prostitution. According to the Hartford Courant, it turns out that a prostitution ring was recruiting young men with mental health disorders by promising them work and money. Instead, the disabled men would be set up to engage in sexual activity in exchange for money even though they were not aware of the agreement.
“This ring is alleged to have exploited young males with mental health issues by delivering them to wealthy ‘clients’ throughout Connecticut for the purpose of [having] sex for money,” police said in a press release earlier in 2017.
Bemer’s lawyer has responded to these allegations.
“I would simply ask everyone not to rush to judgment regarding the claims against Bruce,” said attorney John Droney. “I’m involved in an active investigation of those people who are making those claims, their motives, their backgrounds and their credibility.”
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A man named Robert King was allegedly responsible for setting up the young men with the NASCAR race track owner.
“Bemer stated that he believes that over the 20-25-year period King has brought him 8-10 different boys for sex, most on multiple occasions. Bemer stated that he pays approximately $200-250 per occasion,” the arrest warrant stated.
Based upon these charges, the NASCAR race track owner was arrested in March. In April of 2017, NASCAR’s racing sanction for the Speedbowl was terminated, and the organization released a statement.
“NASCAR has terminated it Nascar Whelen All-American series sanction and NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Race Sanction with the New London Waterford Speedbowl, effective immediately,” said NASCAR’s Twitter account.
Originally, the racing season was supposed to start on May 6, but the sex scandal has left the New London-Waterford Speedbowl closed. In addition, the race track’s racing director, chief steward, and several other officials resigned. Drivers like Adam Gada say the Connecticut race track has been part of his family life for generations but now the stigma associated with the Speedbowl has resulted in drivers making other plans.
“I know a lot of guys don’t even want to race there because of what’s happened,” he said, according to the Associated Press. “It doesn’t feel to me like it’s ever going to open. It just doesn’t seem feasible that it will open again, at least not this year.”
— Ethan WIlliams (@EthanWilliams04) August 21, 2016
Gada hopes to race at the Speedbowl sometime in the future because of his family’s history with the race track, but he admits the “whole situation right now, well, it’s not very family friendly.” A Facebook post briefly claimed that a new lease deal was in the works but the post was eventually deleted.
“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,” said Chuck Coursey, the track’s spokesman.
Bruce Bemer’s criminal case has the race track owner scheduled to be back in court on Tuesday, May 30, 2017. The Speedbowl’s spokesperson would not comment on whether Bemer has any plans on selling the track.
— The Day (@thedayct) May 24, 2017
[Featured Image by Geoff Burke/Getty Images]