Banner photo: Speedbowl regular Allen Coates won the $10,000 Funk Master Flex Invitational in his #90 Late Model (Race Dog photo)
On Thursday August 5, 2004 the Waterford Speedbowl hosted a unique event promoted by hip-hop personality and New York City DJ Funkmaster Flex. In 2003, he was also the host of a series on Spike TV called Ride with Funkmaster Flex which profiled many cars popular in hip-hop culture. The following year, Flex created the Super Series concept for the network where Flex would round up select Late Model drivers from around the country to compete for big money. The inaugural event was to be held at the Waterford Speedbowl with driver’s vying for a chance to win $10,000 and a vintage 1969 Z28 Chevy Camaro.
It was a heavily promoted event with several celebrities slated to appear: Hip-Hop artist Lil’ Kim was the honorary starter, Paul Teutul & his son Paul Jr from Orange County Choppers led ceremonial pace laps on their choppers and rap superstar LL Cool J performed briefly in front of the crowd after the event. Additionally, when it was broadcast later that winter on Spike TV, NASCAR broadcaster Mike Joy and former Speedbowl & NASCAR Modified Champion Rick Fuller were the commentators for the telecast.
Over 60 late model teams from up and down the east coast, including several weekly Speedbowl competitors, attempted to qualify. Crowd estimates were as high as 8,000 in attendance. Several drivers with years of experience at Waterford, including Ted Christopher and Phil Rondeau, were in contention for the win. In the end, 3-time Speedbowl Late Model Champion Allen Coates earned the victory plus $10,000 in cash and the vintage Camaro. Watch the entire broadcast of the Funkmaster Flex Super Series Invitational at Waterford below.
In its original conception, the Super Series was supposed to be just that – a series of events, with each edited later and shown on Spike TV. But unfortunately Funkmaster Flex and the Spike TV network parted ways before any other events were held. Flex landed on ESPN shortly after and shifted from racecars to custom cars & athletes with a show called All Muscle with Funkmaster Flex. Although it was not continued, the Super Series event garnered tons of exposure via cable television for the Speedbowl and it remains one of the biggest events in track history.