14-year-old race car driver Emma Libby turning heads at Speedway 95

Emma Libby stands in front of her car after a recent victory at Speedway 95 in Bangor.
Photo courtesy of Wizz Conlogue
Emma Libby stands in front of her car after a recent victory at Speedway 95 in Bangor. Buy Photo
Posted Aug. 03, 2012, at 6 p.m.

HERMON, Maine — Hudson’s Emma Libby is only 14 years old.

But she is already making a name for herself at Hermon’s Speedway 95.

After finishing second in points in the Stars of Tomorrow (ages 17-under) and Bomber classes a year ago, Libby has moved up to the Ladies Division and Sport-Fours this season and is currently leading the points in the Ladies Division and has three top-five finishes in the last four Sport-Four races including two thirds.

Libby, who will be a freshman at Orono High School this fall, also occasionally runs in the Little Enduro and Bomber classes.

“I’d like to win the championship in the Ladies Division,” said Libby, who added that she would also like to rack up some wins in the Sport-Fours, Little Enduros and Bombers.

She has won six Ladies Division races this season after posting nine victories between the Bomber and Stars of Tomorrow classes a year ago.

That’s quite an achievement considering she didn’t start racing until she was 12.

She didn’t go the go-kart route that’s used by some young racers to get acclimated to driving.

“I just started in the Stars of Tomorrow [during Wacky Wednesday racing],” said Libby.

Her father, Ed Libby, had been reluctant to let her race.

“She had been around [racing] but I didn’t want her to do it. She kept bugging me and bugging me so I finally let her try it,” said her dad. “She really wanted to do it.”

Her dad has been one of the major influences.

He has worked on Late Model cars with close friend Deane Smart of Bradley.

Her uncle, Doug Sinclair of Hermon, won the Super Street points championship at Speedway 95 in 2010 at the age of 65. Her dad was a member of Sinclair’s pit crew.

Emma Libby had been going to races to watch Smart and Sinclair race for several years before climbing into the seat for the first time.

“I’ve been around it since I was little,” said Emma who loves the unpredictability of the sport.

“It keeps me guessing every week,” she said. “You never know what’s going to happen. It’s an adrenaline rush.”

She admits she was nervous before her first race as a 12-year-old, “but I was also so excited to get my first car.”

Libby is a fan favorite and that doesn’t go unnoticed.

“When they announce my name before a race, it feels so good to have the fans behind me out there,” she said.

She prefers racing in the Bomber, Sport-Four and Little Enduro divisions.

“The Ladies Class is a little boring,” said Libby, who is often racing against just five or six other drivers in the class. “But I love the other three classes. They always keep me on my toes.”

She is also paying her dues in those three classes, which are primarily made up of men. She has been subjected to more aggressive drivers as she moves up in class.

“I’ve had a few hard wrecks. A few of the other drivers aren’t treating me the best [they could]. I race hard but I race clean and that’s what I want from everyone else,” said Libby.

Libby is serious about auto racing.

“It’s more than a hobby. My dad and I work on the cars every single night after he gets out of work,” said Libby who drives a Honda in the Ladies, Little Enduros and Bombers and an Acura Integra in the Sport-Fours.

“She’s focused. She improves with every race,” added Ed Libby.

Sinclair said his niece has progressed a lot further than other teenagers.

“She’s a pretty savvy racer,” he said. “She isn’t overly aggressive but she’s aggressive.”

Sinclair also said his niece knows her way around the track and finds ways to maneuver around other cars.

“She has talent,” he said.

“She has been doing awesome,” said Kayla Allen of Penobscot, who races against Libby in the Ladies Division. “She’s getting used to her car and knows how to get in and out of the corners. She also has a really good car.”

Allen added that Libby has exhibited “very good sportsmanship.”

“Rhonda Wilbur got into a bad wreck and Emma stopped her car to see how Rhonda was. She cares about the other drivers,” said Allen.

Libby feels she has gotten better and she hopes to keep climbing the ladder.

“I’d like to move into a Street Stock and then into a Late Model in a few years,” said Libby.

The Ladies and Little Enduros race on Wednesdays while the Bombers and Sport-Fours run on Saturday nights.

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