While the ARCA Menards Series West is a mainstay for American racers looking to get into the stock car game, 19-year-old Bridget Burgess and her 40-year-old mother, Sarah, are something of an outlier. The family from Brisbane, Australia moved to Los Angeles in pursuit of speed, and the crew has never left.
And I mean that all quite literally. The Burgess family moved in 2008 after the Australian government prohibited people under the age of 25 from driving a turbo or V8 engine. Now, the daughter races and the mother serves as her one-woman pit crew.
The Burgesses are the subject of a great new article on ARCA’s website, written by Tadd Haislop. I’m going to give you a little teaser, but you need to go read the whole thing:
Burgess’ No. 88 HMH Construction Toyota was assigned the pit stall next to Holley Hollan’s No. 50 JBL/NAPA Filters Toyota, a car fielded by the Bill McAnally Racing stable that has won five of the last six West Series championships. Sarah Burgess, Bridget’s mother and crew chief, could only laugh when she watched “like 10 guys” jump over the pit wall to service the No. 50 during the practice session.
Sarah is not just her daughter’s crew chief; she is the entire crew. So when Bridget brought her car into their pit stall, her 40-year-old mother changed all four tires herself. Sarah estimates the process took eight minutes.
“I save on gym memberships by doing this,” said Sarah with a tepid laugh, seemingly exhausted by the thought of the physical burden. “We’re just working with what we’ve got. It’s better than not being at a race track at all.”
Added Bridget: “We go racing because we love it. We want to race, so we do everything we can to keep on racing and continuously go to the next race.”
While the whole Burgess family loves racing, this is a case where the daughter followed in her mother’s footsteps. Sarah kicked off her career in the Lucas Oil Off-Road Racing Series because her husband wasn’t a fan of the fact that self-promotion and social media are such big components of motorsport nowadays, per the Salt Lake Tribune.
That family element taught Bridget a variety of skills she’d need to become a racer. From the SLT article:
Burgess raced all of 2017 on the off-road circuit with Sarah. Most of the season, she deferred to her mother, making way when Burgess saw her in the rearview mirror. It taught her patience and to wait for her opportunities.
“You don’t want to hit the person that makes you dinner and keeps a roof over your head,” Burgess said.
It wasn’t a big operation back then, and it still isn’t now. Repairs are done in-house by the driver and her family—along with mid-race pit concerns, strategy, marketing, budget, you name it.
This year, Bridget Burgess scored three top-10 finishes out of the nine races she contested, which sat her at 10th place overall in the championship.