Well, on Tuesday April 27, 2021 it finally happened! 11 years and 3 months after we conducted our first interview, I finally released the final film in our Speedbowl Doc Series. It’s been quite the journey from conception to completion with this project, and now that’s it’s finally over, I thought I’d share some random thoughts.
Each of these films was a different experience for me. The rotation of people through the generations to help this story was just awesome. Speedbowl legends on the track like Bob Potter, Mike Daignault, Bob Gada, Phil Rondeau, Jay Stuart, Tom Fox, Dennis Gada, Keith Rocco among so many others. Man, were we fortunate! And when it came to Part 6, it was a special era for me personally. For a majority of the seasons that this film covers (2005-2014), I was walking around the pits every Saturday selling programs, shooting videos or both, before heading to the grandstands by feature time to hang with my friends. And during those travels my extended Speedbowl family was created – a unique, diverse and compelling group of people who all share the passion for short track racing.
So with the Speedbowl Doc Series finally finished, I figured why not throw out some superlatives and have some fun looking back at this this gy-normous project!
THE ‘WE HAVE SOME MANY STORIES, YOU’LL HAVE TO INTERVIEW US ON CAMERA TWICE’ AWARDS
There’s actually a few others we re-interviewed for technical reasons (Tyler Chadwick, Bob Freeman), but when it came to these three, a second interview was necessary just because there was so much to talk about.
- JOHN BROUWER
- BOB POTTER
- TERRY EAMES
FAVORITE QUOTES FROM PART 6
“Hovey? You mean Shovey?” – Josh Galvin on Walt Hovey Jr
“What was Summers doing holding me up?” – Shawn Monahan on restarting 3rd behind Rob Summers in the 2007 Budweiser Modified Nationals’ final restart with 3 laps to go.
“My dad called me one day and said ‘you wanna go racing’ and I said ‘I’ve been waiting for you to ask me that question my whole life” – Ken Cassidy Jr on how his racing career started.
“Wow… yeah (Jay) Stuart did have controversy surround him at times, didn’t he?” – Steve Kennedy on the night Jay Lozyniak flipped down the front stretch.
“When she did that, I just had this feeling like… I’m gonna win!” – Nichole Thibeault on how she felt after her friend Victoria Bergenty won an SK Light feature.
“On a personal level, I don’t regret any of it” – Terry Eames looking back at his tenure as Speedbowl owner
As an editor, there are certain segments that were more challenging than others, whether it’s the emotion I’m trying to convey to the viewer or the complexity of the edit to tell the story. There are a few segments in each film that I’ll always remember for what it took to actually edit them together. Here are the ones from Part 6:
- THE LOZYNIAK FLIP – the story arc from the origins of the beef between Jay Stuart & Bruce Thomas Jr that eventually spilled onto the track and resulted in a spectacular crash with Allen Coates & Jay Lozyniak was always a compelling story I had mentally check-marked for this series. But it was a delicate topic that some didn’t want to talk about. And some of the footage of the wreck (especially the one shot by Lozyniak’s mother) is pretty intense to watch. It’s one of the more challenging stories I’ve ever tried to tell on the screen.
- THE 2007 FORECLOSURE – I remember back in 2007 intensely listening to Gary Danko’s Speedway Line Report radio show the Monday before this foreclosure auction was scheduled because he had the attorney who was to hold the auction as a guest. It might have been as early as 2009 or 2010 that I asked Gary if I could use that audio for the documentary, which he thankfully said I could. It made for a great edit to explain how property auctions work and what the community could expect – including how the auction could be avoided, which in 2007 is what actually happened.
- THE 2014 FORECLOSURE – Because we used that attorney’s interview to define how the auction works in 2007, when it came to the 2014 foreclosure (which actually did go to auction), we didn’t need to explain all that again. Instead, we could concentrate on the intense uncertainty of that moment. And it helped that we had footage of the auction as well.
- TERRY’S FAREWELL – Like I had done at the end of Part 2 with Don Benvenuti & John Brouwer, Part 3 with Dick Williams and Part 4 with the Korteweg family, I wanted to have a positive reflection for the entirety of Terry’s tenure as track owner/operator. I didn’t think we had that after his first interview, so about 2 1/2 years later we did a second one. Terry’s candidness about losing the track and the heartbreak that went along with it was pretty compelling stuff. It made for the perfect ending to the series.
AS LONG AS PART 6 IS, I COULD HAVE MADE IT LONGER
The way it worked out, each film is approximately 30 minutes longer than the previous one – starting with Part 1 at about 60 mins. This meant Part 6 should have been about 3hrs 30 mins… and we actually stretch it to 3hrs 47mins. And yet, we still didn’t get all the stories we originally had plans for into the series. Here are some of the stories from 2005-2014 era that didn’t make the cut for Part 6:
- JEFF ROCCO stealing the Chitwood car during a thrill show.
- STEVE BARRETT receiving a new race car from the Speedbowl community after his return from Afghanistan.
- Extended story on JOEY GADA‘s first win and the legacy of the Gada family.
- Extended story on KEITH ROCCO‘s dominance of both the SK Modifieds and Late Models during 2013-2014.
- FINALE PURSES or more specifically the multiple times that competitors didn’t get paid for the final event of the season.
- MINI STOCKS rules and why many X-Car drivers went directly to the NE Mini Stock Tour instead of the Speedbowl’s Mini Stock division.
- Extended story on the transition of the X-MODIFIEDS to SK LIGHTS.
- SHAWN MONAHAN‘s involvement in the 2014 foreclosure, including his efforts to finalize the results of the property auction.
We actually have plans to still produce the first 3 stories on this list, just not part of the Speedbowl Doc Series. You’ll have to subscribe to youtube.com/sidsview to follow up on those (hint, hint)
THERE IS NOT A PART SEVEN
So I’ve seen some “can’t wait for part 7” comments on social media, and while I appreciate the compliment implied, there are no plans to produce a Part 7. In early 2014, when the foreclosure auction was scheduled for that October, we decided whether the track survived that auction or not was going to be the conclusion of this series, and we’ve stayed true to that decision ever since.
It’s worth noting that if a Part 7 was to happen, we’d have to start all over with interviews as there is very little after the 2014 foreclosure auction that we asked the 70+ people we have interviewed on camera. And what little we did ask is irrelevant since things with the current ownership has changed since those interviews . We’d also have to secure a whole new round of fundraising. It would basically be like starting over with a whole new project. We have several projects in the works at VP Headquarters, including a couple we hope to release more details on soon, but at present time a Part 7 for the Speedbowl Doc Series is not one of them.
A FEW REGRETS
I couldn’t possibly list ALL the things I’ve learned by producing this series, because it’s been 11 years so there’s a gazillion of them LOL! This project was a challenge for me as an editor though, and editing is where my passion lies when it comes to producing content, so here are a few things that still kinda grind my gears when I look back at this series:
We upgraded our equipment multiple times during the 11 years we produced this series, including a jump from SD to HD. And those upgrades are sometimes noticeable in the final cut, and that irks me a little bit if I’m being honest. When we started out, like we did with Sid’s View, we just grabbed cameras and started shooting. We didn’t really think a lot about consistency in the look of the interview footage… nor did we even know we’d be shooting interviews for a decade when we started! And while the quality of this production for the budget we had is pretty damn impressive, the notepad is pretty full with technical improvements to make technically with our future projects.
Speaking of our budget, I regret never really figuring out the fundraising for this project. It was up n’ down the whole time. We tried making the series pay-per-view when we released Part 3 (which was an epic fail), tried a GoFundMe page to raise funds for Part 5, which was highly successful, then tried it again for Part 6 only to see it barely generate anything. Fact is, the Speedbowl Doc Series is a unique series, with a limited audience and limited people available to fund its production. It created some challenges behind the scenes but I’m glad we made it through all of them in the end to create some awesome content. Please take a minute or two and check out our sponsor page to see the great bunch of racing supporters who helped us pull this series off. Without their support, we really would not have finished this thing.
I also regret continually miscalculating how long it would take me to complete this project. It will forever give me a heavy heart thinking of how Bill Sweet, Peg Gaudreau, Gordon Rodgers or Bubby Brouwer never were able to see the finished product. At the same time, it makes me smile knowing Don Benvenuti, John Brouwer and Bob Potter were able to see the films they were in. Rest in peace my friends.
THE WHITE WHALE INTERVIEWEES
We tried our best, but ultimately we were never able to get these guys in front of the cameras.
- DON COLLINS
- DICK DUNN
- DON BUNNELL
- ED MOODY
- C.J. FRYE
If we could do it over, I sure would have loved to have done an interview with these guys
- RON COTE
- TED CHRISTOPHER
- BUBBY BROUWER
I can’t thank each and every one of the 84 people (including those off-camera interviews) that we interviewed for this project. We had no budget for a voice-over for this series, so it was up to the people we picked to help us tell this story – and they all came through. Some people, like Rae Ann Williams or John Lozyniak, were specific to one story while others, like Bones Bourcier, Steve Kennedy, Matt Buckler and Shawn Courchesne, spoke on so many topics that they became major players in the narrative of the films they were in. And everyone in between sharing their stories… I mean, we interviewed the first Speedbowl Modified champion Dave Humphrey and had archive interview footage of current SK Modified Champion Timmy Jordan. Everyone from Fred Luchesi to Keith Rocco. Plus every living track operator up to the 2014 season. We were extremely fortunate for everyone’s participation and we appreciate all of them.
Also want to say thanks to the literally hundreds of people who have donated photos, pictures, videos and other misc memorabilia to our archives over the years. Without those contributions, we wouldn’t have been able to produce such a comprehensive preservation of the Speedbowl’s history.
And lastly, my awesome Vault Crew who helped me conduct these interviews. Jesse Gleason shot a bulk of the interviews, with Bob Lucas, my wife Tiesha and yours truly filming some as well. Kathy Courtemanche was a huge help finding these Speedbowl personalities to interview and Steve Appleby & Brent Gleason also helped with some interviews. I’m always appreciative of the effort my crew gives to our video projects behind the scenes, the #SpeedbowlDocSeries was no different.
I chuckle when I think back to my original expectations for this series. I dreamed of it being on TV or some streaming service. Ah, so naïve. Now 11 years of blood, sweat & tears later, I’m content with it’s home on my YouTube channel and hope people will continue to find it and enjoy the content for years to come.
I’ll always cherish the opportunity this project gave me to interview my childhood racing idol Ron Bouchard. I will never forget that day, his infectious smile or the kindness with which he treated us during his interview.
There was a time way back in 2013 when Jesse Gleason said this project would eventually just come down to me and the editing… and boy he wasn’t kidding. I never diligently kept track of the time in the edit booth, but a rough estimate for the entire 6 part series over the last 6 years or so of editing is probably somewhere around 4,000 hours. That doesn’t include the time to conduct any of the 84 interviews we started back in 2010. Or the years of research for speedbowlhistory.com that started back in 2005 and was continually referenced during the post-production of this series.
I have to admit I’m pretty overwhelmed with relief that I actually finished this bad boy. Believe it or not, there were times (as recently as early 2021) where I didn’t quite know if or when I actually would finish it. There’s no need to ramble about behind-the-scenes techy crap that caused all that uncertainty, only to say I’m glad they turned out to be merely hiccups thankfully, and not the cruel torture they felt like at the time. But no matter how long it took, I finished what I started and that’s cause for celebration! It actually feels weird to not have to worry about having to produce another one.
When I think about the depth of it all, culminating in the release of the last film on Tuesday… well, I’m not gonna lie, It gives me an enormous sense of pride, and even bigger sense of relief that it’s finally over and while I plan on relaxing for a week or two, we will be right back at it with more stories, from more tracks and more great personalities to help us tell the stories… so stay tuned!
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See you all at the track soon!!