The Ford Mustang is probably Ford’s most easily recognized vehicle in their incredible history but oddly, the Mustang hasn’t received much attention in the massive NASCAR world. Instead, Ford has relied on models like the Taurus, Fusion and Thunderbird to carry the “stock car racing” torch but there is no question that today’s NASCAR race cars are far from stock. While you certainly cannot expect the series to take a step backwards in performance and actually use stock-based vehicles, introducing the Mustang into NASCAR allows Ford to feature an actual 2-door, rear wheel drive, V8-powered performance car in the most popular racing series in America.
Ford currently uses the Fusion – a car only available in front wheel drive and more well known for being highly efficient than sporty – so right now NASCAR fans cannot run out and buy a car “just like” what they watch race on television. However, should NASCAR approve the new Mustang body for the Sprint Cup Series, fans of the sanctioning body’s most popular series will now be able to watch their favorite driver win in a V8 powered Mustang and then go out and buy a car that is somewhat similar – at least in comparison to the difference between the race and street version of the current Fusion race car or the previous Taurus models.
The Ford Mustang stock car was approved for competition in the NASCAR Nationwide Series last year but the approval process could take up to a year. In this time, Ford will have to show that this new body is competitive with the other vehicles in the series without having any sort of illegal advantage. Considering that the Mustang has been approved in the Nationwide Series, you would think that it would be approved for the Sprint Cup Series but in the world of motorsports, money talks…so who knows what will happen.
When the Ford Mustang race car made its debut last year, the Dodge Challenger joined it so depending on Ford’s success (or maybe even before it is approved), perhaps we will see Dodge submit the great-looking Challenger body for NASCAR Sprint Cup approval as well. It is just a shame that GM has shown no interest in putting together a Camaro for NASCAR, as it would certainly make for a great marketing campaign – the best of the Big 3’s muscle cars going head to head.
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Tackling the blizzard of 2011 in a Lincoln MKS EcoBoost