Top Alcohol Dragster driver Ashley Sanford confirmed to Competition Plus she will license in the Lagana family’s Top Fuel dragster April 3 at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

“This is crazy,” said Sanford, 23. “This is something I’ve wanted for as long as I can remember. Since I was a little girl going to the race track with my family, I always aspired and looked up to the Top Fuel drivers, so this is surreal. It hasn’t even hit me yet that I’m going to be doing it, and I’m so excited. I’m just so grateful for this opportunity to get my Top Fuel license and having that piece of paper saying I can do it.”

This coming week – March 31-April 2 – the DENSO Spark Plugs NHRA Nationals take place at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Tripp Tatum will be driving the Lagana Family Top Fuel dragster in Vegas.

“I have my Top Alcohol Dragster experience and I have spoken with a handful of Top Fuel drivers and they all have given me the same advice in a different way,” Sanford said. “They said it is really good that I’ve been in A Fuel dragster because they are very similar to the Top Fuel setup. The biggest warning I’ve been told is to get ready for it to take off a lot harder and pull even harder. My biggest thing as I’ve gone up through the ranks is that I’ve always wanted to go faster.”

Sanford, who is based in Orange County, Calif., has been piloting her family-owned Top Alcohol Dragster for four years, making her debut in the car in 2013 at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

“This is a family dragster,” Sanford said. “Dad, mom, uncle, boyfriend, we are a backyard crew that runs this dragster. That’s one thing that a lot of people can relate to is that our dragster is absolutely 100 percent family run. We really stick to those core values of being a tight-knit family and supporting each other. That’s why I’m so blessed that my family has sacrificed so much to help me accomplish this dream and that we get to do it together. It’s going to be amazing.”

Sanford will be in Vegas this coming week competing in the national event in her family’s Top Alcohol Dragster.

“People recommended to me that if I was going to get my Top Fuel license, do it on a weekend I was racing my Top Alcohol Dragster because you are already in the focused mindset of being in the car and then I’m just making a hop over to a little quicker one,” Sanford said. “One of the important things that appealed to us about the Laganas is that they are a family and close-knit and we can all relate on that level. We also know people who have licensed with them and had incredible experiences doing so.”

Not surprisingly for Sanford, her goal is to drive for a Top Fuel team one day.

“That’s the ultimate dream,” Sanford said. “I know how it is and how it is not easy to accomplish that goal. At the age I’m at, I’m 23 years old, and I’m extremely passionate about our sport and passionate about driving and all the stars kind of aligned for this opportunity to get my (Top Fuel) license and I’m just going for it while I can. I’m hoping with this opportunity and the piece of paper that shows I’m capable and I can get it done, it will open more doors to teams to look and see if they have any seats opening up. I’m there and ready to be a part of a team and be an ambassador for them and the sport. That would be a dream come true.”