16-Year-Old Racecar Driver Says She’s Being Harassed, Threatened at Popular Maine Track
In a report from WGME 13, a Maine girl, who has been racing since the age of 10, now 16, claims that she's been the recent victim of harassment, verbal assault and even threats of violence at Maine's popular Oxford Plains Speedway. The girl says that other drivers have run after her screaming and saying they're going to fist-fight her.
Following a post on social media penned by 16-year-old Bella Flaherty, officials at Oxford Plains Speedway said that it was the first they were hearing about any wrongdoing from other drivers. Bella's post read in part,
"For months we have been putting up with the disrespect from drivers, physical contact, words of hate, sexual harassment, threats. I've been told 'I'm a bad driver', 'Girls shouldn't race', and get physical death threats every week from grown adults. The track has done nothing to help or stop it."
Bella Flaherty, who lives with her family in Alfred, Maine, has been racing stock cars for more than half a decade and claims that, until recently, she's never had an issue with her age or gender on the track- until now.
Bella said until recently, she's never had any issues while racing as a female, telling WGME 13,
"I've never raced with another girl. Always only been the only girl. And we've never really had any problems."
However, Bella says that's all changed this racing season at Oxford Plains Speedway, saying in part;
They run after me. They scream at me. Say that they're going to fist fight me. I'm underage. We've had people come up to us and tell us they're going to wreck me. I've been spun out. Driven into the wall. We went to them about a month ago, and we shared our complaints. And they just hushed us up and told us that it's not their problem. And then last week, we went to track officials. We went to two different people, and they wouldn't do anything about it."
WGME was able to catch up with the Vice President of Oxford Plains Speedway, Mike Mayberry, who told reporters that they had never received any complaints from Bella or her father in regards to the claimed harassment. Instead, Mayberry suggested the Flaherty family was upset because they were asked to leave the track this past Saturday by security after going into another driver's area in the pit.
Bella's father says he only entered the other driver's area to ask why that particular racer and his father were chasing after his daughter.
This is a developing story and we will continue to keep it updated as more information becomes available to us.