Ford to stick with Fusion for 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series
Ford launched the Mustang stock car body last year in the NASCAR Nationwide Series which, for those who don’t follow the sport, is somewhat like a minor league compared to the NASCAR Sprint Cup. Ford put together a great looking Mustang stock car for the Nationwide Series and the pony car on the oval track had the exact result that they had hoped for as Mustang enthusiasts who were not previously into stock car racing began following the series just to see their beloved Mustang take on the field. At the same time, the Dodge Challenger replaced the Dodge Charger in the Nationwide Series and while GM stated that they wouldn’t be offering up a Camaro body for NASCAR – the American horsepower war was nicely bolstered by the on-track pony car shootout.
Based on the quick popularity of the Ford Mustang in NASCAR at the Nationwide level, few racing fans were surprised to hear earlier this year that Ford had submitted a Mustang body for the approval of the NASCAR “big leagues”. The odds are better than not that the Ford Mustang would have been given the nod to compete but Ford has announced that they will stick with the current Ford Fusion body for the upcoming NASCAR Sprint Cup season which begins next February with the 54th running of the Daytona 500. Ford will continue to run the Mustang in the Nationwide Series.
According to Fox Sports, director of Ford Racing Jamie Allison stated that the company believes that having the Mustang in the Nationwide Series and the Fusion in the Sprint Cup Series; allowing Ford Racing to put both their famous pony car and their top-selling car in front of the power hungry NASCAR crowds. “The Fusion is so important to our company, it’s our best-selling car, and when we launched the Fusion, we launched it here in NASCAR. We believe that NASCAR is a platform that can help us compel the fans to the fact that we have an exciting sedan in Fusion, as well as Mustang,” said Allison.
There will certainly be no performance impact on the Ford Racing teams in NASCAR, as they have done just fine with the fairly ambiguous Ford Fusion sedan-turned-stock car but it seems to me that the idea of “race on Sunday, but on Monday” goes out the window when fans watch a coupe-shaped Ford Fusion with a V8 sending power to the rear wheels – when a trip to the dealership offers nothing of the sort with the Fusion badge. On the other hand, while the Ford Mustang stock cars pack far more power and far fewer amenities than the street version, both the race car and street car versions of the Ford Mustang are rear wheel drive, V8 powered coupes.
Ford also states that they are working on a new Ford Fusion stock car body so it could be a while before NASCAR fans are cheering for a Mustang in the Daytona 500 but for the Nationwide Series – the Ford Mustang will continue to thrive at the hands of drivers like Trevor Bayne, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Carl Edwards.