The Ford Mustang is having a huge week, celebrating its birthday and National Mustang Day. Now, Ford is announcing that the Mustang is heading to the NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series for the first time. The Ford Mustang will race into stock car racing’s top league, starting with the 2019 Daytona 500, in February.
Edsel B. Ford II, who is a member of Ford’s board of directors, says in a statement, “Mustang is a car that is woven into the fabric of our country, and it’s only right that we put it on the track in NASCAR’s most visible series. I can’t wait.”
Chevrolet recently switched its NASCAR body style to the Camaro ZL1. Toyota dominated many of the races in 2017, mostly because of its sleeker new Camry design.
Iconic Pony Car Goes Racing
Ford is hoping the new body style will help it better compete. Mark Rushbrook, director of Ford Performance Motorsports says, “We’re combining America’s favorite sports car with America’s top stock car racing series. Mustang always has been about affordable performance, which can be traced to innovations we’ve made competing in racing, like NASCAR. Mustang is a perfect fit for our racing heritage today and tomorrow.”
The old adage in the National Association of Stock Car Auto Racing is “Win on Sunday, Sell on Monday” suggesting that racing success is directly related to selling the performance cars to the public. Mustang is already a huge seller and the most popular sports car worldwide. The additional notoriety from racing can only help.
According to Ford, "Mustang has competed in the NASCAR Xfinity Series since 2011, winning championships in all but one season. It has taken Team Penske to four owner’s championships in the last five years and carried Ricky Stenhouse Jr. to consecutive driver’s championships in 2011 and 2012."
Mustang Race Car Replacing the Fusion
In recent years, Ford has used the Taurus and Fusion as its race car models. Of course, while these are considered stock cars, they are really nothing like actual street cars. They are stripped of most accessories to lighten them and are reinforced to protect the drivers.
Ford has six organizations and 13 teams using its models in the NASCAR lineup, including Wood Brothers Racing, Roush Fenway Racing, Team Penske, Stewart-Haas Racing, Front Row Motorsports and Go Fas Racing. Some of the Ford drivers, like Brad Keselowski, have complained that Ford needed to do something to better compete with the redesigned Camry race car.
The new Mustang body is still going through testing and will be formally submitted to NASCAR for approval this summer. Ford isn’t saying when the public will get to see the new race version.
The first series points race for Mustang will be the Daytona 500 on Feb. 17, 2019.