Ford's 2018 form a product of four year plan

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Ford's 2018 form a product of four year plan
By: Tom Errington
Aug 15, 2018, 6:44 PM

Ford success in the 2018 NASCAR Cup series is the culmination of a four-year plan, says global director of Ford Performance Motorsports Mark Rushbrook. 

Clint Bowyer, Stewart-Haas Racing, Ford Fusion Rush Truck Centers and Kevin Harvick, Stewart-Haas Racing, Ford Fusion Busch Beer
2019 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Mustang
Ryan Blaney, Team Penske, Ford Fusion Menards/Knauf Insulation and Kevin Harvick, Stewart-Haas Racing, Ford Fusion Busch Light / Mobil 1
2019 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Mustang
Kevin Harvick, Stewart-Haas Racing, Ford Fusion Jimmy John's Clint Bowyer, Stewart-Haas Racing, Chevrolet Camaro Haas 30 Years of the VF1
Kevin Harvick, Stewart-Haas Racing, Ford Fusion Mobil 1
Kevin Harvick, Stewart-Haas Racing, Ford Fusion Jimmy John's

Kevin Harvick's victory at Michigan last year made it 10 wins from 23 races for Ford in 2018, one less than Toyota's series benchmark while Chevrolet's new-for-2018 Camaro has only taken two victories.

Ford last won a Cup series championship in 2004 through Kurt Busch and Roush Fenway Racing. 

Rushbrook explained that Ford's increased commitment to NASCAR, notably luring Stewart-Haas Racing to its fold in 2016, led the groundwork for its current success.

"We get reminded frequently inside our company that it's been 14 years [since Ford's last Cup title], but that is our goal. 

"It's a decision that we took about four years ago to get serious, more serious about technical depth and using the tools that we have inside the company to get the on‑track performance that we really wanted. 

"And that's how long it takes to put full force into the engine program, the aero program, the chassis program, the simulation, the simulator. 

"It takes that long before they all get running because you've got to have strength in every part of the car. 

"So it's been four years working towards this. Hopefully, we can bring it home through this year. Certainly looking forward to that. 

"But we've got a strong car, a new body [in the Mustang] coming next year, and looking forward to what we can do in 2019, as well."

Rushbrook was again asked if the introduction of the Mustang next year, replacing the oldest car on the grid in the Fusion, was awkward because of the current car's performance. 

"We're looking for Fusion to end its run in NASCAR at the highest level in Cup, really strong through the end of this year," he said. 

"We definitely wanted to bring the Mustang with the opportunity with the rules changing to allow coupes as of last year, we took the decision that we wanted to bring the Mustang here, where we think it's really appropriate to be running that. 

"With our engineering tools, our team, the collaboration between our racing teams - with Roush Fenway, Team Penske and Stewart‑Haas - the ability to use the Penske technology scale tunnel, Gene Haas's wind shear full-scale tunnel and our advanced CFD tools, we think that we've got a Mustang that not only looks good but is going to race really good next year." 

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Series NASCAR Cup
Author Tom Errington