Residence: Fullerton, California
Hometown: Fullerton, California
Date of birth: January 14, 1994
Hobbies: Boating, snowboarding, riding quads and buggies in the desert, spending time with family and friends
Top Alcohol Dragster
2016 car: Gelish Soak-Off Gel Polish dragster
Crew chiefs: Troy Schweers and Shane Sanford
Car chief: Dave McWilliams
Team owners: Shane and Michele Sanford
Career wins/runner-up finishes: 0/0
2015 points finish: 18th
Best points finish: 18th
First start: Las Vegas (national event) 2013
Career-best elapsed time: 5.28 seconds (Pomona, CA, 2016, national)
Career-best speed: 274 mph
(Las Vegas, 2015, divisional)
2016 Season Highlights
- 2016: Two quarterfinal appearances (Las Vegas national and Norwalk, Ohio national)
- No. 2 qualifier (Las Vegas divisional)
- 2015: Two semifinal appearances (Las Vegas national and Las Vegas divisional)
Notable: Dog lover with five dogs: Riley, Woody, Bella, Lily, and Sophie
As early as age 8, Californian Ashley Sanford knew she was at home behind the wheel of a race car. When other children her age were playing with toy cars in the dirt, Sanford was winning the first event she entered while at the controls of an ATV on a sand dragstrip.
Sanford might as well have been raised sipping from a warm bottle of 70-weight oil in between turns chomping on a piston pacifier. The now 22-year-old from Fullerton, Calif., was born, as the saying goes, with drag racing already flowing in her veins. Sanford’s early racing heroes were her dad, Shane, and her grandfather, Ed, who successfully campaigned sand dragster entries.
Now, as she continues her quest to be among drag racing’s elite stars on pavement, the So-Cal native competes in NHRA’s (National Hot Rod Association) equivalent of Major League Baseball’s minor leagues in the Top Alcohol dragster class, the quickest and fastest class of the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series — Triple-A, if you will.
The next step for the feisty racer is "the call" to the big leagues: In Top Fuel, driving the world’s quickest and fastest race cars that accelerate to more than 100 mph in less than a second and blister a 1,000-foot track in less than 3.8 seconds.
"Competing in a Top Fuel dragster is absolutely where I want to be," Sanford said. "That’s the ultimate goal and hopefully it comes sooner rather than later."
Sanford’s contemporary racing heroes also have had a hand in the tutelage of this rising straight-line star as she climbs through the ranks of competition in a sport famous for its diversity.
"Alexis DeJoria (Funny Car) was the first driver I had a conversation with as an aspiring NHRA driver," Sanford said. "I'll never forget how encouraging and helpful she was to me.
"Tony Schumacher has gone out of his way to help give me pointers being behind the wheel. The fact the Top Fuel driver with the most wins and championships in NHRA history cares about our sport’s future and the drivers who will be a part of it is a huge honor and really inspiring."
The future is indeed extraordinarily bright for Sanford, who not only wants to race with her heroes but also has the right amount of confidence needed to be a winner among them.
When asked whom she would like to see alongside her in the other lane in her first Top Fuel final round, Sanford replied with a glowing smile, "The loser."