Lyn St. James
"be A Nice Lady"
Maxine Cornwall had not intended to raise her daughter, Evelyn, in Willoughby, Ohio, for the gritty, male-oriented world of car racing. But, ironically, she instilled a love of cars in her daughter. Cornwall, a polio victim, found an automobile empowering. Mother and daughter would take long weekend drives.
Evelyn Cornwall, who later changed her name to Lyn St. James to make it more marketable, credited sports for helping make her more outgoing as an adolescent. She played basketball, volleyball, tennis, and field hockey, and attended the Andrews School for Girls, near Cleveland. She took an interest in drag racing through male friends. One night in 1964, while attending races with friends in Louisville, Kentucky, she made an offhand remark to someone who had lost a heat and was told, "If you think you can do better, go ahead." She took up the offer and won the race. Attending the Indianapolis 500 in 1969 and getting star A. J. Foyt's autograph furthered her zeal.