23-year-old Californian Ashley Sanford will join reigning 400 Thunder champ Wayne Newby and Western Australian team-mate Damien Harris for the opening round of the 2017-18 Top Fuel season at Sydney Dragway this weekend.
Sanford, a stand out in Top Alcohol, licensed in Top Fuel at zMax Speedway in May, made her Top Fuel debut at the U.S. Nationals and then raced for RAI at the Midwest Nationals when their regular driver Wayne Newby returned to Australia for business reasons.
“I’m absolutely over the moon to be invited to race for Rapisarda Autosport International,” said Sanford. “When Santo rang and offered me the ride I was speechless. I spent some time with Santo, his boys Santino and Santo Junior when they raced in America over summer and really enjoyed the experience.
“Some of the best drivers on the NHRA tour, including Larry Dixon, Tommy Johnson and Dom Lagana have driven for the Rapisarda family and it’s a real honor to join such a group. If you ask any American Top Fuel driver they will tell you that racing in Australia is definitely on their bucket list and I’m so lucky and grateful to Santo and the Rapisarda family to be given such an opportunity.”
Santino Rapisarda will tune the Newby car with Santo Rapisarda Junior heading up the Harris entry. American tuning guru Lee Beard has been enlisted to spanner the Sanford car.
“Sydney is hometown for our team and being the opening round of the season there is a real sense of anticipation about this meeting,” said team owner Santo Rapisarda. “My boys, Santino, Santo Jnr. and all the team want to put on a good show for the fans.”