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Californian speedster Ashley Sanford will race with Rapisarda Autosport International team mates Wayne Newby and Damien Harris at the East Coast Thunder meeting at Sydney Dragway, November 2-3.

“Anytime you get the opportunity to race Top Fuel you jump at the chance,” said Sanford. “To be invited by Santo Rapisarda to return to Australia and race for his team is an honour and a privilege. I can’t wait."

"The opening round of any season is always an important event. This meeting has added significance because Sydney is the home track for the Rapisarda Autosport International team.

"When they raced at the U.S. Nationals in September it was fun to catch up with the boys - Santino, Santo Junior and Wayne. Since returning to Australia the team have been busy in the shop prepping the three cars for this meeting. One car is a challenge but getting three cars race ready is a massive undertaking.”

Sanford made her debut with RAI last season and finished third in the championship. Her best performance was runner-up to Sydney racer Peter Xiberras in round three at Willowbank Raceway.

“I’m still chasing my first win in Top Fuel. Hopefully it can happen this weekend," she said.

Nothing would make me happier than to be able to hand the winner's trophy to Santo and the Rapisarda family.”