Lyn St. James Profile

Recognized by Sports Illustrated as one of the “Top 100 Women Athletes of the Century”, Lyn St. James is only one of three women in the 90-year history of NASCAR to compete in the Indianapolis 500, the single largest spectator event in the world. The decorated driver who entered the Indy world at age 45 knows what it takes to persevere even when all the odds seem stacked against you.

Lyn’s first experience driving at the Palm Beach International Raceway ended in humiliation when her car spun out of control and sank in nearby wetlands, but she shook it off and retook the wheel again and again, gradually gaining her peers’ respect as she broke barrier after barrier. She was the first woman to win the Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year Award, a two-time class winner of the 24 Hours of Daytona, and a two-time competitor in the prestigious 24 Hours of Le Mans race. Despite being named the Indy 500 Rookie of the Year, she still struggled to obtain corporate sponsorships and be taken serious in a male-dominated sport. Her resilience and fighting spirit paid off; eventually, she became known as the American Woman Racing Icon of the Century.

Off the racing track, Lyn has served as President of the Women’s Sports Foundation. She is the ambassador of the Haggerty Education Fund, a member of the NASCAR Diversity Council, and the Founder of the Women in the Winner’s Circle Foundation, where she personally continues to coach aspiring female racecar drivers.

As a motivation speaker she shares how she honed the skills to become a distinguished racer, skills that are necessary to accomplish anything in life.

  • View Extended/Alternate Bio

    Lyn St. James’s racing resume reads like a bucket list for every aspiring racer. A winner at the 24 hours of Daytona and 12 hours of Sebring, St. James also competed at the 24 hours of Nurburgring, the 24 hours of Le Mans and qualified for Indy 500 seven times, winning Indy 500 rookie of the year in 1992.

    Lyn was the first woman to win the award, doing so at the age of 45, the oldest driver ever to do so. She finished 11th that year, her second best finish before coming 6th in 1994. Though her talent behind the wheel was apparent, St. James did not begin racing competitively until her mid 20’s. The former secretary and piano teacher’s racing career started with a splash, but not the kind that would land her in the winner’s circle.

    After attending a Sports Car Club of America competition driver’s school with her husband, St. James entered her first race at Palm Beach International Raceway in a “Showroom Stock” class Pinto. During the race, she lost control of her car and crashed into a lake. “I got out before the water got too high” St. James said during a 2010 interview with Car and Driver. “It was embarrassing… My husband said, ‘Look, if you want it bad enough, we can figure it out. If not, now’s a real good time to give up.’ I didn’t give up.”

    St. James would later become a regional champion in Showroom Stock. Soon after, St. James set her sights on joining the pro racing ranks. In 1979, she entered the IMSA Kelly American Challenge and notched a second place finish in her first race. Major sponsorship arrived in 1981 when she signed with Ford Motor Company as a factory driver. St. James would compete in 63 IMSA GT races, earning 6 wins and 17 top-5 finishes. She also competed in numerous SCCA Trans-Am races.

    It wasn’t until 1992 that St. James got her start in open wheel racing, qualifying for her last Indy 500 in 2000 at the age of 53. Lyn said of her final Indy 500 “…being able to go back when everyone had written me off… That felt good.”

    As a woman as dedicated to advancing opportunities for female athletes as she is to her driving career, St. James has also served as President of the Women′s Sports Foundation. In 1994, she founded the Lyn St. James Foundation, an educational organization that focuses on worldwide activities and programs for automotive safety and driver development.

    In her autobiography, The Ride of Your Life: A Racecar Driver′s Journey, St. James provides inspirational advice for everyone as she recounts her career as a world-renowned Indy driver.


Lyn St. James Speaking Videos

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Lyn St. James's Speech Descriptions

Bringing the excitement from the track to the podium, St. James inspires audiences to take the ride of their life. She has addressed some of the nation′s top corporations, sharing her own unique and proven methods for personal development, performance improvement, goal setting, team building and achieving balance in life. Recipient of the 2001 Guiding Woman in Sports Award, she is also an ideal speaker on women′s issues, gender and diversity.

Lyn St. James′ story is not just about being a successful racecar driver. It′s a story about goal setting, determination, passion and fully utilizing all her defeats and successes to break into a world no one could have imagined possible: auto racing.

Lyn can share with your marketing team, sales group, management staff, or your entire organization, the determination and positioning she used to break into a world no one could have imagined.

Suggested Programs:

The drive that leads to success
Lyn understands the rejection, the "crashes;" the doubts, the defeated mind-set when others constantly "get the breaks," and when victory seems achievable only for others.

Preparation: the key to success
The will to win is important, but the will to prepare to win is even more important.

After the moments of defeat
Lyn can spark employees to use the moments of defeat as lessons to achieve their goals.

What next?
When the race is finished, and the trophies and prize money is handed out, what will be your team′s next great moment?

Is your vision clear?

Perhaps if the vision is clear, your audience will see the reasons and the path to achieve goals not only in business, but also in life.

Other Popular Programs:

  • Accelerate with Lyn St. James
  • Racing to the Top
  • How to Create a New Future with Horsepower
  • How to Break Your Personal Speed Limits
  • An Incredible Journey

  • What People are Saying about Seeing Lyn Speak

    Rating Entries

      “You did an extraordinary job of relating the key elements of successful auto racing (desire, focus, listening, team building, communication, & preparation) to any business strategy. I would highly recommend the presentation to anyone!”
      — Scot D. Deagan – Vice President & Director – ZC Sterling Corporation

      “Your presentation was great; you’re a wonderful role model. Females of all ages can learn from your attitude toward the ‘workplace’ and handling obstacles. You have my admiration.”
      — Claire J. McIntyre – student – Washtenaw Community College

      “Lyn’s comments were absolutely on-target for the group we need to motivate, and she was a pleasure to work with.”
      — Becky Majeske – Writer/Producer – Creative Street, Inc.

      “It was certainly the highlight of our year. Your presentation was outstanding and your enthusiasm was infectious.”
      — David S. Christoff – Association for Systems Management of Central Indiana

      “As you said in your speech, teamwork is essential to achieving our goals. You proved the perfect “strong, smart, and bold” role model at our luncheon, and through your involvement, you have helped us materially in working toward our goals.”
      — Lauren J. Harrison – Chair – 5th Annual Luncheon for Girls Incorporated of Greater Houston

      “Your women’s marketing presentation today to our dealership salespeople was outstanding. Your understanding of the selling process and your ability to communicate that knowledge to your audience was readily appreciated as evidenced by the interest generated during the Q & A period. Our salespeople are better for having participated.”
      — J.M. Studdard – District Operations Manager – Ford Motor Company

      “I wanted to thank you profoundly for the outstanding presentation you gave the Senior Management group at our recent meeting in Chicago. Your words were most inspiring and right on.”
      Alain Piallat – Senior Vice President – Marriott – Midwest Regional Office

      “Lyn was incredibly inspiring, telling her story, and offering a candid and unique perspective on racing and about women athletes in general. I would highly recommend Lyn as a speaker for any event.”
      — Amy Rosewater – Freelance Writer – Associated Press – Chair for the 15th Annual Association for Women in Sports Media Convention

      Some Clients Include:
      Vision Solutions
      Fujisawa / B&B Productions
      Vocational Industrial Clubs of America
      Aramark – Jack Morton Company
      North Iowa Area Community College
      Sabre Travel Information Network
      National Women’s Music Festival
      Girls Incorporated of Greater Houston
      Washtenaw Community College – Women of Vision
      Federal Mogul
      Alcon Laboratories
      ZC Sterling
      Wells Fargo & Company
      General Dynamics
      Nevada Women’s Fund
      Ft. Wayne’s Women’s Bureau

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    Books by Lyn St. James:

        The Ride of Your Life: A Racecar Driver′s Journey

        Fasten your seat belts! Indy 500 driver Lyn St. James provides inspirational advice for everyone as she recounts her inspiring career as a world-renowned Indy driver.

        Lyn St. James was 45 years old when she joined the world of Indy racing. Now known as the American Woman Racing Icon of the Century, Lyn is a testament to the power of determination and positive thinking. In this inspiring, motivational book, St. James chronicles her last Indy 500 and looks back on a career filled with challenges. She recounts years of adversity and the struggle to obtain corporate sponsorships, despite being named the Indy 500 Rookie of the Year. She recalls record-breaking runs at Talladega and Daytona, terrifying crashes, and the joys of mentoring young women drivers. On every page of this story people will find the motivation and encouragement to follow their dreams and reach their goals.

        Lyn St. James has had 15 Indy car starts. She is founder of the Lyn St. James Foundation and Driver Development Program training young racers and served as president of the Women′s Sport Foundation (1990-1993) and currently serves on their Board of Stewards. She lives in Indianapolis.

        Order Here

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