Ashley Sanford is going home.
No, she’s not returning to her hometown of Fullerton, Calif. On the contrary, she’s heading north to race her Gelish Top Alcohol Dragster at the 29th annual ProtectTheHarvest.com NHRA Northwest Nationals presented by Lucas Oil this weekend at Pacific Raceways.
The home part is the seat of her family’s Gelish dragster.
“It’s pretty hard to put into words because even though I raced a few weeks ago in Norwalk (Ohio), I was in a new car and it was a blast, but getting to step back into my Gelish dragster with my whole family there, it is very comfortable,” Sanford said. “In a sense, it’s going back to the basics.”
Sanford raced for another team in Norwalk and last drove her family’s dragster at a divisional race in Las Vegas, where she qualified No. 2 before rain postponed the event.
“I’m really excited because in Vegas the car was on fire, running amazing, better than it ever has,” Sanford said. “So to get to go somewhere like Seattle, where the air quality is just incredible and to know our A/Fuel cars usually run amazing there, it’s very, very exciting.
“And it’s a confidence booster to have that, as well as knowing that there are only 11 cars registered for our race. We have an amazing shot at really going for it this time, getting to the winner’s circle and getting that first Wally. That is the game plan.”
Sanford is hoping to reverse some prior struggles in Seattle, last racing there when her and her team were just starting out.
“I’ve been there but we have never really done well there,” Sanford said. “We went there our second year of racing when we were really just starting to figure things out. We had a lot of bugs we were working out, and we raced a national and regional event there.
“The car ran decent but we never had outstanding runs just because we were dealing with our own inner issues as a team and on the car. But now that we have everything figured out, getting to go to this track and redeem ourselves in a sense will be really cool.”
Top Alcohol Dragster qualifying sessions are scheduled for 1:30 and 4:40 p.m., Friday, and noon, Saturday. The first round of eliminations will be held at 3 p.m., Saturday, and eliminations will continue at 12:20 p.m., Sunday.