2006 FORD FUSION TAKES TO THE TRACK FOR THE FIRST TIME Ford Racing NASCAR Nextel Cup driver Dale Jarrett test drove the new 2006 Ford Fusion for the first time today in the official on-track NASCAR approval phase for the new car. The test took...
2006 FORD FUSION TAKES TO THE TRACK FOR THE FIRST TIME
Ford Racing NASCAR Nextel Cup driver Dale Jarrett test drove the new 2006 Ford Fusion for the first time today in the official on-track NASCAR approval phase for the new car. The test took place Tuesday at Atlanta Motor Speedway in front of NASCAR officials.
Jarrett took to the AMS track at approximately 1:15 p.m. this afternoon, and completed a series of approval runs for NASCAR.The Wood Brothers Racing team prepped and ran the car for Jarrett, who drives for Robert Yates Racing.
The new Fusion race car was scheduled to go to the Lockheed wind tunnel later in the day in Marietta, Ga., for its final NASCAR approval stage.
DALE JARRETT - Ford Racing driver
"I think things went really well. I was pleased with the way the new Ford Fusion was as far as the balance entering and exiting the corner.It has a very nice look to it and performed well.We were able to achieve the speed that we were looking for, and hold on to the speed we needed in a 10-lap run. I was very comfortable in the car."
WITH ONLY A FEW LAPS, WAS THERE ANY WAY TO TELL THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE FUSION AND TAURUS? "I think the biggest thing we fight with the Taurus is if we get enough downforce in the rear to make it to where we can drive at tracks like Atlanta, getting into the corner, then usually we fight a problem of the front end not sticking as good as we need. It wants to lift up. This car seems to have a better balance about it.That's what we were trying to achieve with the Fusion, and I think we've done that."
YOU DROVE THE PRODUCTION CAR RECENTLY IN MICHIGAN. WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS? "I think what we've done with the Fusion is that we built a car that's going to be very nice on the race track, but it's going to be one that the public will go to a dealership and want to buy one. That's what we want to achieve - something we can win with on Sunday and the public will buy on Monday."
EDDIE WOOD - Ford Racing/Wood Brothers team owner
HOW DO YOU FEEL THINGS WENT TODAY?"From my standpoint, I just wanted to come down here and run what we were supposed to run without anything happening to the race car. That was our main goal. We brought an extra car (Taurus No. 21 car), just in case we needed an oil line or something like that. There is no parts truck to go to here, and nobody else to go borrow stuff from, so we came down and approached this just like a normal race week. Fortunately, nothing was needed. Dale got in the car and ran the speed that NASCAR needed and now it's headed to the wind tunnel."
CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THE PROCESS OF BUILDING THE CAR? "Bernie Marcus (Ford aero expert) and Ben Leslie (Ford NASCAR Field Manager) did all the development work on the nose and the tail, and did it with our 40-percent scale model, and adapted it to the race car. Ford Racing did a really good job; they had a timetable to meet and we actually got the car in a couple of weeks ahead of schedule, so we are pretty happy with that. We did the last submission car Ford did, and with the Fusion being the new model for next year, it's pretty special."
GREG SPECHT - Operations Manager, Ford Racing Technology
THOUGHTS ON THE TEST? "The day couldn't have gone better in my opinion. We did the minimum amount of laps that were required to demonstrate the car's capability to NASCAR and it performed flawlessly. We even beat the rain, so I'm happy with the way things worked out."
WHAT HAS THE MOOD BEEN SINCE THE PUBLIC UNVEILING OF FUSION TWO WEEKS AGO? "The unveiling went so well, and of course we still have the get the car approved by NASCAR, so there was a little bit of concern about today going well. But now the first part of the day is behind us, the car looked good, and we got very good feedback from Dale. He felt it was well-balanced. As I said, this part of it couldn't have gone any better."