Ford will stay with Fusion in 2013 Cup

Ford Racing will continue to run the Fusion when the new Sprint Cup cars hit the track in 2013.

Jamie Allison, director of Ford Racing, said the company looked at different models, including the Mustang, for Cup competition. But, after much consideration, Ford believed it was in its best interest to continue promoting its top-selling car in stock car’s top racing series.

“Initially we submitted a Mustang, even back when we were looking at the Nationwide car,” Allison said. “We were really excited about what happened in the Nationwide Series when we put Mustang in. We saw the interest from the fans, the media — and even a whole swatch of consumers that never really followed NASCAR but loved Mustang started to follow Nationwide and NASCAR because Mustang was in. It kind of gave of a view of what could potentially on a grander scale happen if we moved Mustang into Cup.”

But Ford officials kept coming back to the Fusion.

“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,” Allison said. “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.”

Ford will continue to run the Mustang in the Nationwide Series, Allison said.

The Fusion replaced the Taurus as the Ford sedan of choice in the Cup Series in 2006.

And when the Car of Tomorrow rollout began in 2007, the Fusion remained the nameplate for Ford.

When NASCAR elected to bring smaller sportier cars to the Nationwide Series for 2010, both Dodge and Ford were at the forefront in design for the project. It was Ford’s hope to maintain the character and heritage of its 47-year-old iconic Mustang brand while producing a competitive race car.

Allison is optimistic Ford will have that same opportunity in developing the new Fusions, in conjunction with Roush Fenway Racing, for 2013.

Trevor Bayne, the 2011 Daytona 500 winner, and Ricky Stenhouse currently are driving Mustangs for RFR on the Nationwide Series. So is RFR’s Carl Edwards, though he cannot compete for the Naionwide title.

“It’s a natural thing: You come to a car race and people and fans expect the cars you see to be like the cars that you see on the road,” Allison said. “The good news is the fans have spoken, we have spoken and NASCAR has really listened and the collaboration on the 2013 (car) really has us very, very excited.

“The return of brand identity will be one of those moment in the sport that returns it back to the days where cars were cars. So we’re pretty excited.”