Ashley Sanford’s 2018-19 Australian campaign with Rapisarda Autosport International resumes at the Gulf Western Oil Nitro meeting at Sydney Dragway, May 3-4.
Sanford heads into the penultimate round of the season in third place behind reigning champ Kelly Bettes and RAI teammate Wayne Newby.
While a championship title is on the Sanford wish list, the 25 year-old speedster is focused on scoring her first win in the elite category.
“I know I have the support of my team owner Santo who is really cool and doesn’t put pressure on his drivers,” said Sanford.
“As the only member of RAI not to have won a gold Christmas tree, that’s a situation I want to change.
"I look around and see what my teammates Wayne Newby and Damien Harris have achieved and I’m in awe. Damien has won in both Funny Car and Top Fuel and holds the Australian records for both 1000 and 1320 feet, an achievement that in all likelihood will never be beaten. Wayne is a legend. There can’t be too many drivers either in America or Australia who have won championships in Top Alcohol and Top Fuel.”
Sanford’s 2018-19 scorecard to date is impressive. A narrow lost to Newby in the final of the opening round was followed by another second place this time to Bettes at Willowbank Raceway. At her last outing, Sanford finished fifth after struggling with mechanical gremlins.
“I have a great tuner in Rob Cavagnino who has won a Top Fuel championship in Australia and really understands what needs to be done to get the car to run fast and stay in one piece," said Sanford.
"There is a real sense of family within the team. Rob’s daughter, Annalise, also works on the car, doesn’t mind getting her hands dirty and is my ‘bestie’.”
"Sydney Dragway has been a happy hunting ground for me since I first raced in Australia in November 2017. Hopefully, that's where I get my first Christmas tree on May 4,"