Motor racing reporter Marshall Pruett interviews today’s stars and yesterday’s heroes in his new podcast series: The Marshall Pruett Podcast.
In his latest installment, Marshall interviews Lyn St. James. In his own words, Marshall describes the podcast:
She raced and won in IMSA, scored a popular GTO class victory at the 24 Hours of Daytona, competed at the Indy 500 and 24 Hours of Le Mans, called Bruce Jenner a teammate, overcame significant prejudice while developing her career, crawled through burning wreckage after flying hundreds of feet in a terrifying GTP crash, and broke new ground for women in boardrooms and sponsorship opportunities.
St. James, who followed in the wheel tracks of Indy pioneer Janet Guthrie, was the prototype for Danica Patrick, Sarah Fisher, Simona de Silvestro, and every other woman who has found success and prosperity in motor racing since her rise to stardom.
A badass in every sense, Lyn St. James shares her incredible life and story as a racecar driver with the Marshall Pruett Podcast.
The North Carolina Motorsports Association will host its Annual NCMA Membership Luncheon presented by IDG Racing on Tuesday, November 15, 2016 at The Speedway Club Ballroom (Charlotte Motor Speedway).
This year’s luncheon will feature an outstanding “Women in Motorsports” panel discussion featuring some of the most prominent women in world of motorsports. Among them: NASCAR’s Jill Gregory, JR Motorsports’ co-owner Kelley Earnhardt Miller, GM Performance’s Alba Colon and racing legend Lyn St. James. The panel will be moderated by Erin Evernham.
The luncheon is scheduled from 11 AM – 1:30 PM. Members of the NCMA receive one complimentary ticket, additional tickets can be purchased for $30. Non-members can purchase tickets for $50.
The all-female panel – scheduled for 8AM – 9AM on Friday, December 9 (Indiana Convention Center, Room 242) – will cover a host of topics related to opportunities for women in racing. The panel includes former IndyCar driver and 1992 Indy 500 Rookie of the Year Lyn St. James; professional driver, fabricator and TV personality Jessi Combs; Roush Yates Engines Quality Manager Jennifer LaFever; and Jeanette DesJardins, owner and founder of Car Chix and Crank It Media.
In addition to sharing their own personal stories and experiences in motorsports, panelists will address subjects like career paths, business relationships, sponsor attraction, and more—all geared toward advancing female participation in the trade. The program will be interactive as well, with audience members encouraged to ask questions and solicit advice from these highly accomplished professionals.
PRI’s “Women in Motorsports” seminar, which is hosted by PRI Magazine Editor Dan Schechner, is offered free of charge to registered Trade Show attendees and exhibitors.
For additional information and details, please visit PRI’s website.
On July 19, Lyn St. James participated on ‘Breaking Barriers: Motors, Tracks and Stereotypes,’ a segment which was broadcast on the VoiceAmerica Empowerment Channel.
The segment was part of the ‘Women and Sport: The Long Road Up’ show – which traces the pathway of women’s place in sport from the 1950s when girls and women were limited to play days, milk and cookies after “light competition,” to the impact of some of the most driven, talented, and charismatic figures who re-defined and transformed sport itself. Few people know these incredible women.
Many, indeed all, guests on this Series have braved the step into virtually ‘all male’ domains. I am not sure there could be any more daunting than ‘the garage’ at the Indianapolis 500 Motor Speedway. As recounted in her book “Lyn St James: An Incredible Journey” Lyn describes how she first had to don her driving suit in the public Ladies Restroom at Indy. She says she had only one rule ‘no signing autographs in there’. Lyn went on to qualify for the 500 seven times; once qualifying with a four lap speed above 225 MPH. Our guest today made Indy 500, Le Mans, Watkins Glen, the White House (among scores of other iconic locations) HER TERRITORY. Welcome Lyn St James to The Long Road Up.
In anticipation of the 100th running of the famed Indianapolis 500, Yahoo Sports recently interviewed Lyn St. James and Sarah Fisher concerning the race’s dwindling number of women drivers. Take a moment to read Larry Fine’s piece here:
May 26 (Reuters) – Two female trailblazers of the Indianapolis 500 are not alarmed by the dwindling number of women drivers at the famed Brickyard, saying the talent and opportunity are still there.
Britain’s Pippa Mann is the lone woman competing in Sunday’s 100th running of the Indy 500, down from a record four in each of 2010, 2011 and 2013, but former drivers Lyn St. James and Sarah Fisher say it is just a matter of timing.
St. James, who followed 1977 pioneer Janet Guthrie as the second woman to drive in the fabled event in 1992, and Fisher, who at age 19 became the third in 2000, still see the iconic race as a beacon to race drivers.
Six more women have followed them.
“It’s clearly the most well known, significant, historically important, longstanding motor race in the world,” St. James, 69, told Reuters. “You aspire to it.”
St. James noted that this year other top female drivers have other commitments or are racing other circuits such as NASCAR’s Danica Patrick, who has the top Indy 500 finish among female drivers with a third place in 2009.
“What I love about the girls that are competing, that followed, whether it be Danica, Simona (de Silvestro) and all the others is that it isn’t such a big deal anymore and that was what our goal was,” said St. James.
“That we could just be a racer and show up.”
St. James and Fisher, in their own ways, have encouraged and inspired those that followed.
“After ’92 and ’93 I was overwhelmed by the amount of fan mail that I got. Much of that fan mail was not just wanting an autograph, but wanting advice,” said St. James.
“It was not just about me. I realized this is a responsibility if I can help others achieve success in racing or in their lives, this was a responsibility for the gift that I was given.”
St. James established the Women in the Winner’s Circle Foundation in 1994 dedicated to professional development for young women in racing.
“Danica came into my program when she was 14, Sarah Fisher came into my program when she was 15,” St. James said.
Fisher has been an inspiration with her own career arc.
After becoming the youngest woman to qualify for the race and first female IndyCar podium finisher, Fisher became the circuit’s first female owner and its youngest boss in 2008.
“I was a car owner, successfully running only off of sponsorship and prize money for four years starting in 2008 and we were really proud of that,” Fisher, 35, told Reuters.
She later formed an IndyCar team partnership but when that broke apart, Fisher changed gears and with her husband last month opened the massive Speedway Indoor Karting near the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
“It’s an opportunity for parents to bring their kids in and experience racing behind the wheel and see if they actually do want to do it or not,” she said, adding she was eager to help committee youngsters take the next step in the journey.
A journey St. James said remained special. “It is still a sport that women and men compete on an equal level. There are very few of them,” she said.
St. James singled out a pair of drivers to watch for in Ayla Agren of Norway, 22, and 15-year-old prospect Courtney Crone.
“The chances are there for success. The sport wants it, I know. I talk to the leaders. I know they all would be very excited to see women successful in their type of racing,” St. James said.
“It’s a win, win, win. It’s a win for the drivers, it’s a win for the league and the series and it’s a win for the fans. We don’t need any special pass. We’ve got to get the right ingredients, the right timing and the right people.
“I feel it in my bones. I certainly hope I’ll still be able to watch the first woman to win the Indy 500 and see women win more.”
Lyn has been voted as one of Sports Illustrated Top 100 Athletes of the Century! During her career as a race car driver, Lyn holds 31 national and international speed records. In 1992, she won the title of Rookie of the Year, setting the bar for women in the sport of auto racing.
Lyn St. James graciously opened the inaugural SAWF Annual Event in Nashville in 2010. Her generosity helped start this amazing organization that has awarded more than $170,000 in scholarships for Girls Pursuing STEM degrees in the past five years. Because of her inspiration, SAWF has hosted forums for professional development for women in automotive careers. Her devoted support of SAWF is a testament to her leadership in helping women reach their full potential.
Lyn St. James, Mark Dinsmore and Pete Halsmer are the latest veteran drivers to receive entries in the Indy Legends Pro-Am during the Brickyard Invitational.
All three drivers will once again be on the gird at the Brickyard for the feature event of the Sportscar Vintage Racing Association weekend – the Indy Legends Charity Pro-Am.
“All three of these winning drivers will feel right at home with the SVRA I guarantee you,” said SVRA President & CEO Tony Parella. “They have all raced in our previous two Indy Legends Charity Pro-Ams and Lyn and Pete have competed in some of our other events through the years as well.”
St. James, a seven-time starter in the Indianapolis 500 and the event’s rookie of the year in 1992, raced in 15 Indy car races in her career. While many fans know St. James best for her Indianapolis 500 achievements, she is an accomplished road racer and has earned numerous laurels at the wheel of a variety of race cars. She is a two-time competitor in the 24 Hours of Le Mans (1989 and ’91). She was even more successful in 62 IMSA GT events, amassing a record of six wins, 17 top-five and 37 top-10 finishes.
Her 1985 GT victory at Watkins Glen remains the only time a woman has scored a win in that series driving solo. She raced in the 12 Hours of Sebring nine times, winning the GTO class in 1990, and was a two-time winner in the GTO Class at the 24 Hours of Daytona. St. James raced in 53 Trans-Am races with seven top-five finishes. She has held 31 international and national closed-circuit speed records and is a member of the Florida Sports Hall of Fame.
A two-time starter in the Indianapolis 500, Halsmer competed in 33 Indy car races from 1980 to 1985 with a best finish of second. He had a highly decorated career in sports car racing, winning six Trans Am races, two International Motorsports Ass’n GTO championships and three class wins in the 24 Hours of Daytona. He drove for Jack Roush from 1986 through 1989 enjoying his Trans Am success as well as the 1989 IMSA GTO championship. Halsmer won his second GTO championship in 1991 while driving for Mazda. The following year he was invited to compete in the prestigious IROC series.
Dismore came back from a devastating accident at IMS in 1991 to nearly win the Indianapolis 500 ten years later before gearbox failure dashed his chances. He captured the attention of the American open wheel community in 1990 when he dominated the Toyota Atlantic (Pacific Division) championship, winning eight of ten races on the schedule. Just two years after his devastating injuries at Indianapolis he won overall at the 1993 24 Hours of Daytona driving Dan Gurney’s All American Racers Toyota prototype with Rocky Moran and P.J. Jones.
He returned to Indy car racing in 1996 with Team Menard and eventually became a star driver for Kelley Racing where he won the 1999 Texas Motor Speedway 500 kilometer championship race. Throughout his career he competed in 64 Indy car races and in addition to his victory in Texas he won four pole positions. His success earned him the opportunity to represent Indy car in the elite IROC series in 2000 and 2001.
The Hagerty Education Program (HEP) at America’s Car Museum is co-hosting an Arizona Regional Summit Meeting on Wednesday, May 4 at the East Valley Institute of Technology’s (EVIT) Mesa, Arizona, campus.
Legendary racecar driver Lyn St. James will serve as the guest of honor during the summit. To RSVP and register for the event – which includes the meeting/program/facility tour ($30 per person) – please click here.
The summit will explore how EVIT—an award-winning vocational high school—can support the booming Arizona car restoration industry and help fill the need for young talent at local shops. According to SEMA, in 2015, the automotive restoration industry reached $1.44 billion in product sales alone—an increase of 6% from 2014. HEP’s Arizona Regional Summit Meeting will bring together industry luminaries, including legendary race-car driver and HEP ambassador Lyn St. James, along with experts, SEMA members, local shop owners, instructors, administrators and students to discuss the expansion of EVIT’s curriculum to include restoration programs, which will lead to filling more jobs in the industry. The summit will explore how trade schools and education programs can ensure growth for the collector-car industry by working together to train skilled craftsmen.
Ryan Levesque, 26, who recently completed a HEP apprenticeship at Precision Motor Cars in Allentown, Pennsylvania, will speak about the impact the program has made in his life. Upon completion of the program, Levesque received help from HEP to secure a job at Kip Motor Company in Dallas, where he works with restoration manager Randy Bush to further develop his skills.
“As collector cars grow in rarity, automotive auction houses including Barrett-Jackson, Mecum and Sotheby’s are selling vehicles well in excess of one million dollars. One-of-a-kind and completely restored classics are at the top of the trading block and their prospective buyers’ lists,” said HEP National Director Diane Fitzgerald. “Last year, the automotive auction industry surpassed $1.8 billion in collector cars sales nationwide. There are 12 million cars predating 1981 and we believe this represents a good opportunity for industry growth and job creation.”
Since 2005, HEP has awarded nearly $3 million in program/project grants, scholarships and apprenticeships.
Last week, Lyn St. James took a spin in a 1964 Alfa Romeo TZ 1 – talking about her past and present endeavors while behind the wheel.
Chronicled by writer, car collector and classic car broker William Hall, the article beautifully captures the spirit of the powerful little classic Italian GTO – while the two try and hold a conversation over the screaming engine.
Lyn St. James climbs into the cramped cockpit of the 1964 Alfa Romeo TZ 1 and takes a few moments to familiarize herself with the instruments and switches. She wants to know everything; she explains that her learning process is visual as she methodically programs herself for driving. We are only going for an hour-long spin on desert roads in this borrowed race car, but the preparation is the same as if she were back on the grid at the Indy 500.
Of all the race cars she’s driven – GTPs, GTOs, Indy cars, Formula Atlantics, Le Mans, SCCA sedans – this is her first Alfa. First introduced in prototype form at the 1962 Turin Motor Show, it went on to homologation for Grand Touring racing. The drivetrain is an Autodelta-tuned version of the Giulia GTA engine and transmission, but that’s where the similarity ends. Legendary Milanese carrozzeria Zagato handled the rest, utilizing a custom lightweight chassis, independent rear suspension, and a Kamm-tailed aerodynamic body to dramatic effect.