TWENTY-THREE SUCCESSFUL FEMALE RACERS COMPLETE PHASE 2 OF WOMEN IN THE WINNER'S CIRCLE FOUNDATION DRIVER DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM INDIANAPOLIS (March 12, 2008) - A full "field" of 23 female racing drivers, ages 12 to 26, completed Phase 2 of the 14th...
TWENTY-THREE SUCCESSFUL FEMALE RACERS COMPLETE PHASE 2 OF WOMEN IN THE WINNER'S CIRCLE FOUNDATION DRIVER DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM
INDIANAPOLIS (March 12, 2008) - A full "field" of 23 female racing drivers, ages 12 to 26, completed Phase 2 of the 14th annual Women in the Winner's Circle Foundation Driver Development Program, held at the National Institute of Fitness and Sport in Indianapolis on March 1-2.
Founded by Lyn St. James, the 1992 Indy 500 Rookie of the Year and a motivational speaker, the Women in the Winner's Circle Foundation Driver Development Program has graduated over 200 female race-car drivers since 1994. The drivers go through an intensive schedule of fitness and motivational programs, as well as seminars and instruction in the business of auto racing, including public relations, sponsorship, money management, and media training.
Last week's program followed Phase 1, which was held in Phoenix, Ariz., in Nov. 2007, at Athlete's Performance, an elite athlete fitness facility. In the beginning phase, 26 drivers from countries as far away as England, Switzerland, Jamaica, the Philippines, and more than 13 U.S. states went through fitness, mental and physical exercises and testing to help prepare these already proficient drivers for an even more successful future in motorsports.
Each driver from Phase 1 was invited back to Phase 2. The 23 drivers who returned for the business programs in Phase 2 were also re-tested for all the fitness and mental exercises they learned in Phase 1 by Dr. Jacques Dallaire of Prime Performance. All results will be reviewed and drivers will learn if they are invited to attend Phase 3, which will focus on the technical and on-track elements of racing. Phase 3 is scheduled for June of 2008.
"We definitely saw some maturity and improvements in Phase 2," said St. James. "These drivers are all very young. The youngest is 12, the oldest is 26. It's amazing in about four months' time how much you see the drivers, as individuals, mature. They were all very committed to the regimen that we established in November. We saw their ability to absorb a lot of information about media training, about the sponsorship and financial aspects of the sport, and how important this is as a business."
Internationally renowned race-car driver Derek Daly presented an entire pyramid of the different elements and talents a race-car driver has to have to be successful, which are outlined in his just released book, "Driven to Win."
"All these aspects are trainable, except the top of the pyramid: desire," said St. James, "so we focus on these trainable elements and look for that last piece: desire."
Other experts who presented included: Linda Conti of Wachovia Securities; Mike Giannamore of BKD, LLP; Darren Hickey of Gregory & Appel; Doug Boles of Ignition-Inc.; Deb Turner of NCAA; media expert Judy Stropus, of JVS Enterprises; and Mike Camosy provided a tour of the Auto Research Center in Indianapolis.
"At the end of this I would like to see race-car drivers who are not only successful at whatever level they happen to be racing," added St. James, "but hopefully this information will improve their ability to be more successful in whatever they do in their lives. It will help them decide how committed they really are and find out if they are ready to go down the path of being a fully-prepared professional race-car driver.
"There's a lot of people who race for fun and there's nothing wrong with that. In fact, fun is important. But I think it can be difficult to understand that there's more to it than just getting sponsors. They are going to have to work extremely hard; harder than they ever realized. This program teaches them the things that will help them be more successful at whatever level they choose to race, but they will also know what they need to do to be prepared for the professional levels of racing."
Lyn St. James selects the students by processing resumes and referrals she receives and personally perusing race results from around the world. "Thank you, Chris Economaki (publisher emeritus of National Speed Sport News)," she said. "I get National Speed Sport News and read all the race results and look for the female drivers, because if they're in there, they're probably at least top-10 finishers. I also contact sanctioning bodies such as WKA, USAC, NHRA, and the racing schools and ask who stands out and who they see has potential."
The drivers invited to the program come from a variety of disciplines, including stock-car racing, road-racing, open-wheel racing, quarter-midget and go-kart competition, among many others.
The primary criteria for being invited to the Driver Development Program is that St. James personally looks at each resume and determines the person who has a lot of experience, has established some success and appears to have the ingredients and potential to be successful.