It's been an exciting 2008 for the Women in the Winner's Circle Foundation. I'm pleased to say that we've accomplished a lot this year. I want to thank all the companies and individuals who have contributed to the Foundation's programs and/or provided opportunities for women in motorsports. On behalf of the Foundation and our Academy scholarship recipients, Project Podium grantees and other women who have benefited from your support, I sincerely thank you. - Lyn St. James
Driver Development Academy Driver Academy
In November, nine women drivers graduated from our 14th Academy class, and were on hand in Tempe, Arizona, to welcome the 12 new women drivers in our 15th Academy class. These graduates bring the total number of women drivers attending the Women in the Winner's Circle Academy to more than 250 from 35 states and four countries. Read more about the Driver Development Academy and our 2008-2009 class.
Inaugural Project Podium Grants Project
The Foundation awarded matching grants to five young women drivers this year, which launched Project Podium. The goal of Project Podium is to provide financial assistance in the form of matching grants to help women drivers further their professional careers. Each of our inaugural recipients was able to win their series championship, or rookie of the year honors and finish in the top three in championship points. Read more about our recipients and the Project Podium program.
Foundation Grants to Women in Motorsports Programs
Challenge X Logo In support of the Foundation's interest in encouraging more women to choose engineering as a career, scholarships were awarded to two women student engineers who were members of university teams competing in the Challenge X 2008 competition. The two women honored by the Foundation this year are: Rebecca Winer, Outstanding Woman Engineer, Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology; and Jenna Grantham, Outstanding Rookie Woman Engineer, Mississippi State University, Center for Advanced Vehicular Systems.
The Foundation also contributed to the Kettering University LITE (Lives Improve Through Engineering) program, which sponsors one female high school sophomore to attend Kettering's summer engineering program.
WWC Foundation Partners With The Henry Ford
The Women in the Winner's Circle Foundation has partnereExhibit Concept Design d with The Henry Ford to develop a Women in the Winner's Circle traveling exhibit, which will showcase the history of women in racing. The Henry Ford has also made a commitment to set up a permanent archive for women in racing. Please email Christian Overland (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you are interested in donating memorabilia or in reserving a date for this exhibit.
Highlights of Our Women in Racing
Kristin Bumbera was part of NASCAR's 2008 Drive for Diversity class. Bumbera raced in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series for Golden State Racing.
Mackenna Bell, Kristin Bumbera, Tiffany Daniels, Megan Reitenour, Natalie Sather, Caitlin Shaw, Katie Hagar and Trista Stevenson showcased their skills in front of NASCAR's Drive for Diversity Testing and Evaluation Combine presented by Sunoco.
Mazda also provided opportunities for three of our drivers: Colbi Bradley at the Playboy MX-5 Cup race at Road Atlanta; Kerstin Smutney, Playboy MX-5 Cut race at Portland; and Ashley Freiberg, Skip Barber National race at Road America.
In October, Stars & Stripes Motorsports announced it signed a letter of intent to field a car for 17 year-old karting champion Jessica Brannam in the 2009 Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear.
Shea Holbrook, 18, of Groveland, FL was named the inaugural recipient of the Cooper Tire & Rubber Company Scholarship for the first phase of the 2008-2009 Women in the Winner's Circle Driver Development Academy.
Michele Bumgarner has been chosen as the first driver for the NexGen and Walker Racing Driver Development Program to race in the Indy Lights Series in 2009. Michele also has been voted as one of the seven most admired women in the Philippines.