Kaitlyn Bailey: From .25 Midgets to Modifieds

Kaitlyn Bailey: From .25 Midgets to Modifieds

After a successful stint in USAC .25 midgets, Kaitlyn Bailey moves into full-size race cars for 2022. She took in practice day with her crate 602 sportsman modified this past weekend at Grandview Speedway in Bechtelsville, Pennsylvania.

“It is a big step up,” said Bailey, 15, of Alburtis, Pennsylvania. “Growing up at Grandview Speedway, I’ve always been a fan of modifieds.”

Bailey competed in four classes of .25 midgets — heavy Honda, heavy 160, unrestricted Animal, and heavy formula. She finished third in the Northeast region dirt division for the heavy Honda class. When she wasn’t traveling with the .25 midget, she worked on a modified team at Grandview Speedway.

“I was helping driver Kevin Hirthler,” Bailey said. “I worked on the car’s [tire] stagger and learned everything I could from Kevin. Kevin guided me as I prepared to buy my first modified.”

Bailey and her father, Corey, traveled to northern New York during Super DIRT Week to purchase their crate 602 sportsman. Kevin Howard owned the 2017 Bicknell Racing Products car raced by Jimmy Horton.

“We bought the car on October 9, and brought it to Oswego Speedway [in New York] on a trailer,” said Bailey. “I couldn’t wait to get it home to drive it at Grandview Speedway.”

Bailey drove the car only once at the end of season at Grandview Speedway.

“It is definitely different from what I am used to,” Bailey said. “The biggest difference is the way the car rotates in the turn. The sportsman car’s right rear flexes and bites into the track. A .25 midget is a momentum car, and there isn’t hanging the rear out and sliding, like you do in a modified.”

This season, Kaitlyn Bailey plans to regularly compete at Big Diamond Speedway in Pottsville, Pennsylvania, and Grandview Speedway. There she’ll have to battle some of the largest fields of sportsman cars in the country.

“My goal is to be comfortable in the car, which will allow me gain speed as the season progresses,” said Bailey. “By the end of the season, I want to run up from with the big guys.”