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Book Review – Lyn St. James – An Incredible Journey

“Being successful in racing is not just about driving fast…it’s about passion, preparation, experience and opportunity…and being fast.” – Lyn St. James

“Being successful in racing is not just about driving fast…it’s about passion, preparation, experience and opportunity…and being fast.” – Lyn St. James

If you missed it the first time around, the book, Lyn St. James – An Incredible Journey is still a fresh read and puts you behind the wheel of a fire-breathing Indy Car. The book chronicles Lyn St, James’ career from a SCCA club racer in the early-1970s to her final year in competition at the historic Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

In 1992, Lyn St. James finished 11th and won the Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year award.  [Photo courtesy of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway]

In 1992, Lyn St. James finished 11th and won the Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year award. [Photo courtesy of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway]

The introduction provides one of the best descriptions of what it is like driving an Indy Car in anger. Describing intimates details that the novice to the seasoned veteran-racing fan can appreciate. I loved her description of an Indy Car engine, “Sitting in a custom-molded race seat a few inches off the ground, the most dominant sound you hear is a constant high-pitched wait, a noise that is at once as beautiful as a concert piano and as unnerving as a sonic boom.”

Lyn describes in detail her first race car, a 1973 Ford Pinto that was converted to SCCA racing, and her humbling encounter with a Florida ‘gator hole.’ The book flashes between her rise through the ranks of the SCCA and into professional road racing, IMSA in the 1980’s’s into the 1980’s and her attempts to get the sponsorship needed to drive in the 2000 Indianapolis 500 for Dick Simon Racing.

Lyn does a great job chronicling her struggles and challenges to break through the male-dominated sport. You relive her triumphs of her wins in IMSA and record-breaking runs at Daytona and Talladega and her frightening crashes at Riverside and the Brickyard. Lyn has an uncanny ability to take you behind the scenes, walking with her when she’s meeting with her crew, testing a new race car or chatting with potential sponsors at a corporate meeting.

Chapter 11 was an eye-opening chapter for me as Lyn takes you behind the scenes at Jack Roush Racing at Daytona International Speedway for the prestigious 24 Hours of Daytona. You live her frustrations of a potentially career damaging situation and the change of heart of she had. Thus, the aptly name of the chapter, Controlling Your Moment …or It will Control You.

Her credentials are impeccable as Lyn 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 who has made over a dozen Indy Car starts and was named by Sports Illustrated for Women as one of the top 100 Women Athletes of the Century.

Publisher: LSJ Press (August 1, 2010)
ISBN-10: 0982884206
ISBN-13: 978-098288420
Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 5.9 x 0.8 inches
Available at:
Amazon – Lyn St. James: An Incredible Journey
https://lynstjames.com/shop/








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Steve Zautke, a Milwaukee, WI native, was raised in the sport of auto racing. His father, Bill, was a movie photographer that shot racing footage at tracks such as the Milwaukee Mile and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in the 1960’s and 1970’s Steve’s first professional job in racing was as an Emergency Medical Technician at tracks such as Angell Park and Hales Corners Speedway (1988-1991). Steve has also worked for the Milwaukee Mile as videographer, in media relations and historian (1993-2011). Steve also has worked as a reporter for Racing Information Systems (RIS) and has written features for ‘Vintage Oval Racing’ and ‘Victory Lane’ magazines. Most recently, Steve has written a book on Road America for Arcadia Publishing. ( http://www.amazon.com/Road-America-Nascar-Library-Collection/dp/1467111457 ) Steve co-hosts “Sparky’s Final Inspection” a motorsports-based radio show with hosts, Steve “Sparky” Fifer and “NASCAR Girl” Summer Santana on Sports Radio 1250AM in Milwaukee and is also available on the internet at www.Sportradio1250.com. A member of the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame Induction Committee, Steve follows all types of racing from the dirt tracks to Formula One.