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Staff file photo / Brian Johnson of rock band AC/DC raises his fist while driving the Bentley Thunderguts during the Chattanooga MotorCar Festival time trials along Riverfront Parkway in 2019.

Racing driver Lyn St. James, the 1992 Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year, most recently inducted into the Automotive Hall of Fame, has been named grand marshal of the 2022 Chattanooga Motorcar Festival set for Oct. 14-16.

St. James becomes the third grand marshal since the festival was established in 2019, following Brian Redman and Corky Coker, respectively, in those roles previously. The festival was not held in 2020 due to the pandemic.

Redman returns this year as grand ambassador, and Coker is named grand marshal emeritus.

"We at the Chattanooga Motorcar Festival are proud to have Lyn St. James as grand marshal of our third annual festival," said Byron DeFoor, founder of the event, in a news release. "She is a great ambassador to the sport and an outstanding spokesperson for the festival. Her racing achievements and contributions to the sport are recognized around the world."

"We're also privileged to have Brian Redman continue to support the festival," DeFoor said. "He's been an integral part of the operation since the beginning, and his input is invaluable. And what can I say about Corky Coker? He's our local hero whose knowledge about the business of collector cars is unsurpassed. He's one of us, and we're honored to have him on board."

St. James started her career in 1973 as an amateur Sports Car Club of America competitor while living and working in Florida. Today she resides in Arizona.

She would eventually turn pro, racing in the Indianapolis 500 seven times in nine years, claiming the 1992 Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year honors in her first go-round.

The former piano teacher and business owner (Dynasales of Florida and Autodyne) held 21 international and national closed-circuit speed records over a 20-year period. She's competed at the 24 Hours of LeMans, the Bonneville Salt Flats and Goodwood Revival, among other major events, and has been recognized by Sports Illustrated and numerous other publications throughout her career.

"After attending the 2021 Chattanooga Motorcar Festival, I was so impressed with how many different activities and events they had going on for anyone and everyone!" St. James said in the news release. "It's difficult to do that, and they did it well.

"It was my first time in Chattanooga, and I'm looking forward to being back as the 2022 grand marshal. Byron DeFoor is passionate about the event and having it make a positive impact on the community, and those are the things that make for a successful event. I was also quite impressed with the mega-screens located throughout the festival venues last year."

Redman was born in England and now resides in Florida. He has claimed nine sports-car road-racing championships in his 60 years of competition. He was inducted into the 2002 Motorsports Hall of Fame of America and the 2011 International Motorsports Hall of Fame.

"I am delighted to return as grand ambassador to the Chattanooga Motorcar Festival, a truly amazing event," Redman said. "In a short space of time, Byron DeFoor and his team have created a world-class event bringing thousands of people to beautiful Chattanooga."

Coker was the Festival's 2019 "Honored Collector." He has received countless awards in the automotive and hobby world and is a leader in humanitarian efforts. Coker owns more than 180 vintage cars and motorcycles.

"What a wonderful honor to be named grand marshal emeritus of our fantastic Chattanooga Motorcar Festival," Coker said in the news release. "I look forward to working with friends Lyn St. James and Brian Redman to make this year's festival the best ever!"

Proceeds from the event will continue to support the NeuroScience Innovation Foundation and CHI Memorial Neuroscience Center.

This year the festival is partnering with Canossa Events to offer a premier road rally through the Tennessee countryside leading up to other events.

— Staff report by Barry Courter

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