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1974 Year in Review

1974_Dick_Dunn_Modified_Champ (Dugas)
Dick Dunn drove Al Gaudreau's 'Buddha's Bullet' #3 car to an unprecedented 3rd straight Modified Championship at Waterford in 1974 (Rene Dugas photo)
Dick Dunn won his 3rd straight Championship in 1974. He won 2 features during the year. The biggest winner was Don Bunnell who led the division with 7 victories. Ollie Silva won the Hott Wheels 100 in dominating fashion, lapping the entire field en route to victory. Gene Bergin won the Schaefer 100 in July and Jim Landry won the New England 100 in September. There were 14 different winners during the year.

1974_Rick_Elnicki_Late_Model_Champ (Dugas)
Rick Elnicki was the 1974 Sportsman Sedan Champion (Rene Dugas photo)

Ron Cote won 3 of the first 4 events, and 8 on the year to lead the division, but it was 2-time winner Rick Elnicki who took home Sportsmen Sedan Championship honors. There were 10 different winners during the year. All Sportsmen Sedan features were 20 laps this season.

One of the most entertaining Powder Puff Derby was held on August 24th when Doris Blaise and Diana Glaude raced side-by-side to the checkered flags. Officials were unable to determine a clear winner and declared both women co-winners of the event.

1974 was the last year under Waterford Speedbowl Inc. operators (l-r) Don Benvenuti, Lou Esposito and Bob Albino (uncredited photo)
By the end of the season, Waterford Speedbowl, Inc had begun to actively try to sell the track. The ownership group was now made up of Louis Esposito along with 2nd generation members of previous owners: Robert Albino, Don Benvenuti, Rich Benvenuti and John Brouwer. On November 29, they gave East Hartford developer Michael Corrado an exclusive 30 day window to buy the track. Corrado, who was proposing a horse track nearby on Rte 85, would either use the Speedbowl property for parking for the horse track or possibly convert it into a dinner/theatre complex. He also had the oppurtunity to find his own buyer for the facility as well. However, Corrado was unsuccessful to get zoning approvals or suited investors and his 30-day window expired with no offer made to the track owners. Asking for $500,000, the Speedbowl property was put on the open market in January 1975.

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