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Dec 12, 2013

Melissa Paris Wins Grant From Women's Sports Foundation To Go Racing

Melissa Paris (13), as seen at Miller Motorsports Park during the 2013 AMA Pro Road Racing season. She's still trying to raise the rest of the money she needs to compete in the 2014 Spanish Superbike Series and in three AMA Pro SportBike rounds. Photo by Brian J. Nelson.
Women’s Sports Foundation Champions Young Racers

$45,000 in Grants Awarded by “Women in the Winners Circle Project Podium”

New York, NY (December 12, 2013) – The Women’s Sports Foundation (WSF), the leader in promoting sports, health and education for girls and women, recently attended the Performance Racing Industry (PRI) Trade show in Indianapolis, Indiana, to recognize a select group of up and coming racers.

Eight young women were recognized under the new “Women’s Sports Foundation’s Women in the Winners Circle Project Podium Grant,” designed to help young racers overcome the business challenges unique to motorsports. The original project created in 2007, was founded by former president of the Women’s Sports Foundation, Lyn St. James. This project was created to champion young and talented women drivers who compete in all forms of racing, including go karting, quarter midget, drag racing, sports car and oval track racing. St. James, a seven-time Indy 500 and winning sports car racer has worked tirelessly to help promote young women in racing for decades.

“The Women’s Sports Foundation understands the amount of dedication, commitment and focus that it takes for athletes to accomplish their goals and, through Lyn’s pioneering efforts, is thrilled to help enable the success of so many talented women in racing,” said Kathryn Olson, CEO of the Women’s Sports Foundation.

Women racers were encouraged to apply for the Women’s Sports Foundation’s Women in the Winners Circle Project Podium Grant at for an opportunity to receive matching funds to advance their careers. Following a formal application process and judging selection process lead by Motorsports professionals, eight racers were chosen to receive financial assistance for the 2014 racing season.

The Women’s Sports Foundation’s Women in the Winners Circle Project Podium Grant Class of 2014 includes:

• Ayla Agren, 20, Norway – Mazda Road to Indy Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship

• Sabre Cook, 19, Grand Junction, Colorado – F1600 or Skip Barber Racing Series

• McKenna Haase, 16, Des Moines, Iowa – 305 Sprint Cars

• Shea Holbrook, 23, Groveland, Florida – SCCA Pirelli World Challenge

• Hannah Newhouse, 16, Twin Falls, Idaho – NASCAR K&N Pro Series

• Melissa Paris, 30, Oceanside, California – AMA/Spanish National Championships (Motorcycles)

• Kristin Treager, 26, Tulsa, Oklahoma – Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge

• Taylor Ferns, 17, Washington Township, Michigan – USAC Silver Crown/National Midget Series

Each racer will receive support ranging from $5,000 to $10,000 to support their 2014 racing season. The chosen racers will also have access to the Women’s Sports Foundation Motorsports Mentors to assist them during the year when outside expertise is needed.

“It’s amazing to think that this all began with an idea and a donation from Paul Newman’s Foundation. The applicants were quite diverse and the judges spent considerable time in getting the list down to our final seven drivers. I can’t wait to have greater corporate support to help place more talented women on the podium and into the sport in 2015 and beyond,” noted Lyn St. James.

About The Women’s Sports Foundation

The Women’s Sports Foundation, founded in 1974, is the leader in promoting sports, health and education for girls and women. With Billie Jean King as its founder and ongoing visionary, the Women’s Sports Foundation continues to have a profound impact on female athletics, from its vigorous advocacy of Title IX legislation to providing grants and scholarships, grassroots programs for underserved girls, and groundbreaking research. An agent for change, the foundation has relationships with more than

1,000 of the world’s elite female athletes and is recognized globally for its leadership, vision, strength, expertise and influence. For more information, visit . Follow the Foundation at or on Twitter (@WomensSportsFdn).
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