St. James will ride as grand marshal of the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Festival’s Parade of Classics, a tradition since 1956, festival officials announced.
Instead of driving, St. James will travel on the back of a convertible, waving to spectators along the parade route from Eckhart Park, up Jackson Street and back on Main Street to the courthouse square.
St. James was the 1992 Indianapolis 500 Rookie of The Year — a first for a woman — and the second woman in history to race in the Indy 500.
Her other career highlights include holding 21 international and national closed-circuit speed records over a 20-year period, including 225.722 mph during qualifying for the 1995 Indy 500; racing in the 24 Hours of Le Mans (1981 and ‘91); two wins in the Daytona 24 Hours; 53 SCCA Trans-Am races with seven top-five finishes; 62 IMSA GT races with six wins, 17 top-five, and 37 top-10 finishes.
She was invited to the White House to meet with Presidents Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and William Clinton and named in the “Sports Illustrated for Women” as one of the Top 100 Women Athletes of the 20th Century, as well as in “Working Woman Magazine” as one of “The 350 Women who changed the world between 1976-96.”
This month, she was honored at the 26th annual Amelia Island Concours d’elegance.
In addition to riding in the Parade of Classics on Saturday, Sept. 4, St. James will take part in several meet-and-greet events scheduled during the ACD Festival on Sept. 3 and 4.
“We are thrilled to have Ms. St. James as a part of the 2021 Auburn Cord Duesenberg Festival, especially with this year’s festival celebration of ‘Women Behind the Wheel.’ With all she has done for women both on and off the track, we feel that she is the embodiment of this year’s ACD Festival theme. We look forward to welcoming her, ‘Back Home Again in Indiana!’” the festival said in a news release.
St. James joins other Indianapolis 500 drivers who have served as the parade’s grand marshal, including past 500 winners Peter DePaolo (grand marshal in 1971), Gordon Johncock (1982), Rodger Ward (1994) and Bobby Unser (2012), as well as Speedway owner Tony Hulman (1975) and car owner Andy Granatelli (1992).
This year marks the 65th Auburn Cord Duesenberg Festival. Last year’s festival was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.