June Sprints Grand Marshal A Full Circle Moment For SCCA Hall of Famer Lyn St. James

It probably doesn’t matter where in the world you are in the motorsports world, there’s a link to motorsports legend and SCCA Hall of Famer Lyn St. James. But as the Grand Marshal for this weekend’s WeatherTech Chicago Region SCCA June Sprints at Road America, the final stop on the Hoosier Super Tour, it connects a lot of the dots in her racing career.

“Being named Grand Marshal for the WeatherTech Chicago Region SCCA June Sprints is truly an honor,” St. James remarked. “It’s a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the passion and talent within the racing community while also championing diversity and equal opportunities for all.”

St. James began her career as a fan in South Florida, where visits to Daytona and Sebring opened her eyes to what the sport was – but the SCCA was where she learned to get involved.

That began in Showroom Stock classes, where she was the 1976 and 1977 Florida regional champion. Those humble beginnings launched a career and more, including a Formula Ford race during the June Sprints in 1983. By that time, she was already participating in the IMSA Kelly American Challenge series, but was still green as a driver. So what to do?

“Bill Scott Racing was running my Kelly Series that season and they said, we have to figure out how to make you a better driver,” St. James said. “I said ‘yes, I’d like that, please!’ So they entered me into the June Sprints in Formula Ford. I think I qualified 22nd out of 40 cars. So Road America and SCCA has a very special place in my 50 year career.”

That took her quickly to IMSA. Her first win? IMSA GTO at Road America, another connector to this weekend.

It only got better from there. She is a two-time class winner at Daytona, a class winner at Sebring, and a class winner at the 24 Hours of Nürburgring. She went to Le Mans. Want something completely different? In 1988, she set the speed record of 212.577 at Talladega in a Ford Thunderbird.

In sports cars, Lyn entered 53 SCCA Trans Am races and was a top-five finisher seven times. She also entered 62 IMSA GT races and was a top-five finisher 17 times. She is the only woman to win an IMSA GT race driving solo, when she won in 1988 at Watkins Glen.

And then there’s Indy. How about the Indy 500 Rookie of the Year in 1992? She made seven Indy 500 starts in total, and many more in an IndyCar outside of the Speedway.

“I had no idea growing up that this existed,” she said. “Those IMSA races (as a fan) triggered it, and SCCA became the facilitator. I found racing, and/or racing found me. It changed my life. It brought me too life. I wasn’t fulfilled or satisfied; I was still trying to figure it out. There was something missing.”

Here’s the crazy part – that’s only a small part of her legacy. Naturally, she was a proponent of more women in motorsports as a driver, but once she took her helmet off she went full in. St. James is now the co-founder and champion of Women in Motorsports North America, and has dedicated to the advancement and promotion of women in the motorsports industry.

Her effort, joined by others, are working. Is the entry list 50/50? Of course not. But there are currently eight females drivers here this weekend, and no one bats an eye. That’s called progress.

So it’s a two-pronged reason to earn the Grand Marshal title this weekend – she’s earned it on the track, but she’s also earned it in her second career off the track. It’s not exactly hard work this weekend, but it’s not easy, either. She’ll be in victory lane to hand out trophies; she’ll wave a green flag (or two), and she’ll meet with people and tell stories.

And while she was honored to be asked, the event is honored to have her as a part of it – every one of the record 565 entries.

If you’re at the track, you can meet St. James in the course of her activities. If you’re at home, you can still follow along with the action and hear from her directly on the live stream right here on SCCA.com or on the YouTube page at Youtube.com/@SCCAOfficial.