RPW Column: Adrianna Delliponti, Molly Struss & Kaitlyn Bailey: The Ladies Of Grandview’s Sportsman Division
Column By: TOM WENNER / RPW – BECHTELSVILLE, PA – In a sport that is dominated by male racers, the ’22 season at Grandview Speedway produced an increase in female race car drivers.
The senior female of the group is Adrianna Delliponti, driver of the Gilmore Racing #7 that is owned by Kenny and Brett Gilmore. Adrianna is in her 2nd season steering the Sportsman Modified Stock Cars at Grandview.
Adrianna broke onto the Grandview Speedway scene in 2021 behind the wheel of Kevin Hirthler owned #117 Sportsman Modified.
Adrianna’s love for competition started at the young age of 5 years old. Danielle and Joe Delliponti put Adrianna in a family owned Quarter Midget at Phoenixville and off she went. Adrianna successfully drove Quarter Midgets at Phoenixville from the age of 5 to 14.
Along the way, Awards piled up – 2 Time National Champion, 2x Driver of the Year, and Regional Champion while Adrianna learned her craft on both asphalt and dirt tracks across the country. Adrianna, and her parents were not shy about competition and traveling as the family towed off to Texas, Ohio, Indy and Daytona for USAC Quarter Midget competition.
Adrianna’s graduation from Quarter Midget competition led to a Wingless 600 Micro Sprint for the next racing fix. The family owned 600 started out at the popular Wingless Wednesday Shows at Shellhammer’s Speedway in Leesport, PA.
While it was learning experience with the bigger and higher horsepower Micro Sprint, Adrianna was up for the challenge as she ran consistently well on Wednesday nights. Adrianna next moved to Kutztown’s Action Track USA and ran competitively at the arguably the toughest field of 600 Micro Sprints in competition.
In 2021 Adrianna and her family joined the Hirthler family to field a Grandview Speedway Sportsman under the Hirthler family racing team as #117. Adrianna ran 10 races in 2021 and her best finish was 3rd. Adrianna was super competitive and won several heat races while learning the Sportsman Modified with sail panels at Grandview.
Kevin, Jesse, Brian and the whole Hirthler and Delliponti teams fielded a great sportsman car while Adrianna learned how to be competitive racing at Grandview. Since it was time for Jesse Hirthler to make the move to sportsman racing in ’22, Adrianna lined up a ride with the Gilmore racing team for 2022.
Kenny and Brett fielded an sportsman ride with help from the Delliponti crew for Grandview sportsman racing in ’22. Adrianna rewarded the Gilmore’s with a 10th place finish in Sportsman points and her best finish was 3rd.
For this years ‘22 Freedom 38er at Grandview Speedway Adrianna and the Delliponti family debuted a new Bicknell Sportsman race car. The beautiful yellow, pink and blue #22a is a 602 Sportsman and will be utilized in ’23 when the new season is planned out.
The car was a gently used modified that was completely refreshened by the Delliponti Racing Team. Adrianna’s is very quick to share that Kevin Hirthler and Brett and Kenny Gilmore played a big part in helping to get the new #22a Sportsman on track.
The Grandview Speedway Freedom 76 was a magical weekend for Adrianna. Friday the debut of the new family owned Sportsman #22a and Saturday, Adrianna made her debut driving the backup Timmy Buckwalter Saxton Motorsports #23x.
Timmy Buckwalter and the Delliponti family are great friends going way back to the Quarter Midget days. Timmy’s support of Adrianna in the quarter midget days was very valuable and not forgotten. Timmy then helped teach Adrianna how to make the transition over to 600 Micro Sprints.
Adrianna shared a story about Timmy teaching Adrianna how to shift a 600 Micro Sprint in the street outside their family home.
Adrianna’s parents, Mother Danielle and Father Joe are instrumental in her success. Joe works tirelessly in his day to day job and then comes home and then spends hours in the shop preparing Adrianna’s 600 Micro Sprint and Sportsman Modified. Adrianna is quick to note, My Mom is the glue that holds the family together. She does everything…
Adrianna has Cosmetology license and is working as a Lash Technician currently. In October, Adrianna will attend college to become an Ultra Sound Tech. Adrianna is hoping that Grandview Speedway stays around longer as it is her favorite race track.
If the team looks to race elsewhere if Grandview does not run, BAPS could be a home on Saturday nights if they run Sportsman Modifieds weekly in ‘23. Adrianna has goal of that feature win, Something that has never occurred at Grandview. She wants to be the first female to win at Grandview before the track may close.
The Delliponti Sportsman #23a is sponsored by Valvoline Instant Oil Change, VP Racing Fuels, Pete The Bookie, Solid Start True Brand, Delliponti Auto, Tim’s Shock Lab, IPaints Virtual Graphic Design, Gilmore Racingm and Green Lane Wm. Penn. The 600 Micro Sprint is sponsored by Valvoline Instant Oil Change, Dellipontie Auto, Solid Start True Brand, CHOP Design, TSL Shocks, Allegheny Iron & Metal, Paint by Weaver Collision and Custom Color.
Next Up for the lady racers at Grandview Speedway is Kaitlyn Bailey. Bailey hails from Mertztown, PA and is rookie in Sportsman Modified competition at Grandview Speedway and Big Diamond Speedway. Bailey has traveled to BAPS on a few occasions as well.
Kaitlyn started racing at the age of 7-8 racing quarter midgets at Phoenixville. Kaitlyn raced weekly at Keystone in Schnecksville, PA as well over the years in QTR Midget competition. Like Adrianna Delliponti, Kaitlyn Bailey and her family owned team traveled to Indy for the BC39 for quarter midget competition.
Kaitlyn shared that this race was special in meaning and a definitely memorable moment for her.
Kaitlyn raced quarter midgets from age 7 to 15 before graduating to Sportsman Modified competition this season. Kaitlyn’s parents Renae and Corey Bailey made the jump from the small cars into the sportsman modified class this season. The year was a complete learning experience for the team as Kaitlyn learned the ropes on the track.
Kaitlyn ran Big Diamond Speedway all season, She moved to a 2nd night a week later in the summer at Grandview Speedway with some spot trips to BAPS. Bailey finished 19th in points at Big Diamond Speedway. At both tracks, Kaitlyn really started showing improvement and making gains in not only qualifying but running strong and challenging for position. At Grandview Kaitlyn scored a consolation victory and finished 17th as her best finish in a few starts.
Kaitlyn is very quick to share that her parents are her biggest supporters, without them she would not be racing. Corey is the man behind team as the crew chief at the track and shop. The Bailey family owns the “Top of the Hill Grill” Food Truck and Butcher Shop. Mom, Renae spends countless hours with the food truck and at the butcher shop helping to support Kaitlyn’s racing plans. If you are looking fresh, homemade smoked meats like bacon, scrapple, sausage, sticks and snacks, search for them on Facebook as their products and food truck are very popular and off the chart good!
Kaitlyn shares Ryan and Logan Watt, Mike Myers, Brett Gilmore and Craig Whitmoyer have been role models and supportive of her racing plans. She looks up to each of them and often looks to learn from each of them as they compete at the tracks that Kaitlyn races at.
Kaitlyn is hopeful to get more racing time at Grandview Speedway. The plans for the Bailey #10k would be to compete at Big Diamond & Grandview Speedway’s. She would like to hit some 602 Sportsman shows at Georgetown Speedway in Delaware. In the near future, Kaitlyn has her eye on competing and moving up to Spec 358 Modified competition if funds and sponsors allow.
The Kaitlyn Bailey #10k is well sponsored, Team Marketing Partners are: Top of the Hill Grill and Butcher Shop, Peter’s Brothers Trucking, R&R Tree Service, Aluminodi Customs, Ruffino’s Italian Kitchen, C3 Management Company, Alderfer’s Lawn Care, Century 21, Pinnacle Property Management Group, Benchmark
Myers Motorsports, Dup Motorsports, Foscone Automotive, Neal Bailey Quality Carpentry, Marty’s Cleaning Services, Fast Four Racing Shocks, 4 Star Lettering
HighGear Race Transmissions, D’s Delights, Black Horse Strings, and Chris’s Bait and Tackle.
The last of our Grandview Speedway Sportsman Ladies is Molly Struss from Emmaus. Molly has been around racing her entire life, Her dad Tony owns Tony Struss Motorsports and is shown as a Marketing Partner on several Grandview Speedway Sportsman and Modified race cars. You can find Molly and Tony in the Craig Whitmoyer pits weekly at the tracks. Molly dates Jimmy Leiby and can be found in the Leiby racing stable of cars always chasing parts, adjustments and helping make Jimmy and the Leiby stable of cars go fast..
Molly was very active in her younger years playing sports such as Basketball and Volleyball. After suffering some injuries in car accident, Molly’s sports career was side tracked and Molly become more involved in the dirt track racing arena. Molly’s Dad, Tony and Jason Leindecker from Leindecker Racing Engines got the racing bug going to for Molly.
Molly’s racing efforts started with a former Devin Whitmoyer Tobias Slingshot at Linda’s Speedway in Jonestown, PA. Once Molly got behind the wheel, there was no getting her away from the sport. After a season of Slingshot Racing with the Whitmoyer machine, The Struss family made the investment and purchased their own Slingshot car for Molly. The new Slingshot was at the Motorsports Show looking like a red rocket. Molly raced at Kutztown, PA’s Action Track USA and Shellhammer’s Speedway, Leesport, PA this season. Molly finished 6th in points this season at Action Track USA and ran a few select shows at Shelly’s.
As the season progressed, John Leiby, Jimmy Leiby, and the Leiby family decided to field a Grandview Sportsman for Molly. Molly hit the high banks at Grandview behind the wheel of a black Leiby Motorsports #9m. With Jimmy by her side, Molly logged some quality laps at Grandview Sportsman division. Molly’s dad Tony is her rock and he helped keep her focused, hungry and encouraged to do well.
For the ’23 season, Molly is hopeful to get more time racing at the Grandview Speedway. The plan for ‘23 is to field a 602 Sportsman. Molly has goals to one day graduate to Spec 358 Modified racing. A memorable moment for Molly was sharing some track time with Craig Whitmoyer at Grandview. Craig has always been very supportive of Molly’s racing action.
Molly does a great job on the track and an even better job off the track. The Marketing Partners for the Tony Struss Slingshot #99 are Leindecker Racing Engines, Hig Fab Chassis, Eastlake Party Rental, Fisher Electric, Candy’s Homemade Ice Cream, Funk Signs, Hook Inc., Snyder Web Design, Superior Auto Service, Leiby Racing, Whitmoyer Concessions and Catering, TSM Tony Struss Motorsports, S & S Speedways, Miller Motorsports, Maurer & Scott, and SDS Photography.
The Leiby Racing #9M Sportsman is sponsored by Battlepoint Aquaculture, Wholesale Auto Supply, Eastlake Party Rental, NY NJ Trailers, M. Falanga Trucking, Leiby Art World, Ebers Automotive, JBJ Electric, Pat Lavelle, and Accurate Collision.
Keep a watch in 2023! Adrianna Delliponti, Kaitlyn Bailey and Molly Struss are going to make their mark on the local racing scene. Head to the pits and look for the girls, all 3 are personal and outstanding ladies who represent what is best about Dirt Track Racing.