ARCA Menards Series West team owner Sarah Burgess has been named the recipient of the 2021 General Tire Spirit Award. Burgess, who owns the No. 88 HMH Construction Chevrolet driven by her daughter Bridget full-time in the West Series, will receive $2,500, as will the charity of her choice, Tunnel To Towers.
The General Tire Spirit Award was established to recognize someone within the ARCA racing community who has demonstrated true sportsmanship both on and off the track as well as perseverance when faced with major challenges.
The Burgess family — Sarah, husband Adam, and daughter Bridget — relocated from Brisbane, Australia, to Los Angeles to chase their dreams of competing in motorsports with little more than the clothes they were wearing and a few suitcases. Burgess competed professionally in drifting and then switched to short-course off road. Ten years later, the family relocated to Tooele, Utah, and two years later, Sarah Burgess retired from racing to focus on Bridget’s motorsport program.
In addition to the family’s racing commitments, Sarah Burgess is the Business Development Manager for eBay Motors.
As avid motorsports enthusiasts, the family quickly became a race team building their own chassis for drifting and off-road. Bridget Burgess’ asphalt career started with a conversation with renowned West Series team owner Bill McAnally, who recommended time at the local short tracks before moving up the ladder.
The family acquired a modified, and Bridget drove it a dozen or so times at Magic Valley Speedway in Idaho with a best finish of fourth. That opened the door to make a pair of starts for West Series team owner John Wood at the end of 2019.
In 2020, Bridget started the ARCA Menards Series West season in one of Wood’s cars, but the family had already had thoughts of branching out on their own. They bought a 2007-spec car from McAnally, and off they went.
Throughout a year impacted by a downturned economy due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the BMI Racing team participated in most of the races of the 2020 season, only missing a few in the first half of the season while they were preparing their new-to-them car. Bridget scored her first top-10 finish, a ninth-place run at Douglas County Speedway, and then bettered it with a seventh-place finish at The Bullring at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Upgrades to their equipment for 2021 gave them optimism headed into the new season, and Bridget delivered with an eighth-place finish at Sonoma Raceway and then scored her second top 10 of the season at Colorado National Speedway.
Bridget Burgess: Driver
Sarah Burgess: Crew chief (and entire pit crew)
Meet the Australian mother-daughter duo stepping on the gas pedal in American auto racing
— ARCA Menards Series (@ARCA_Racing) December 16, 2020
The family-owned team has scraped and saved and bargained to get Bridget on the race track. Not only is Sarah the team owner, but she is also the crew chief and, for the overwhelming majority of the races, the entirety of the pit crew. Adam serves as Bridget’s spotter, and all three spend time working on the car between races and driving the transporter to the track.
“We are honored to name Sarah Burgess as the recipient of the 2021 General Tire Spirit Award,” said Gregg Vandermark, Senior Event Manager, Conti-General. “Sarah has shown an unbreakable spirit and desire to compete at this level, and the sacrifices she and her family have made over the years — moving across the world to a new country, starting from scratch and doing whatever it takes to get to the race track — are something to be proud of.
‘Sarah and her family exemplify race teams which are the backbone of the ARCA Menards Series platform, and we wish them nothing but success in their 2022 season and beyond.”
Said Sarah Burgess: “First, I am completely grateful to be the recipient of the General Tire Spirit Award. I’m still new to this form of motorsport, and I know I’m not the only person at a racetrack to sacrifice and commit to chasing a dream.
“Second, I’m pleased to be able to support Tunnel To Towers thanks to General Tire, a charity that supports service men and women and their families for the ultimate sacrifice for our freedoms.”