Mustang's global popularity fueled Ford's change in NASCAR Cup Series

Ford Performance’s decision to use its Mustang nameplate in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series next season did not signal any dissatisfaction with its current Fusion model.

Mustang's global popularity fueled Ford's change in NASCAR Cup Series
2019 Ford Mustang NASCAR
Austin Cindric, Team Penske, Ford Mustang Fitzgerald Glider Kits and Cole Custer, Stewart-Haas Racing, Ford Mustang Haas Automation
Ford Mustang GT
Joey Logano, Team Penske, Ford Mustang Discount Tire
Kaz Grala, JGL Racing, Ford Mustang NETTTS
Joey Logano, Team Penske, Ford Mustang Discount Tire
Cole Custer, Stewart-Haas Racing, Ford Mustang Haas Automation
Brad Keselowski, Team Penske, Ford Mustang Fitzgerald Glider Kits celebrates his win

In fact, the Fusion is enjoying one of its best starts to a season as Ford has compiled four wins in the series’ first eight races.

“That (change) was driven based upon the excitement of (the Mustang) and the performance that we think we can get out of it, so it does not signify or signal anything about the Fusion or its road car future,” Mark Rushbrook, global director of Ford Performance, said Tuesday.

Then, why the change?

“We’re excited about going to that nameplate specifically because it’s very much Ford. When people hear Mustang, they automatically think of Ford,” Rushbrook said. “It’s a big nameplate for us, especially with how that car is performing around the world with global sales.

“It’s something that we think, even with the success of Fusion so far this year, we think we can make an even better body as well for 2019 with the Mustang and we’re really looking forward to getting the car on track in 2019.”

Tuesday’s announcement followed one earlier that Ford would also introduce the Mustang into the Australia Supercars series next season.

While the manufacturer clearly hopes for no fall-off in performance – and in fact thinks it can even improve upon it – there is a clear strategy on Ford’s part worldwide to capitalize on its most iconic nameplate.

“As we see the street Mustang being sold globally, and leading the sales for sports cars globally, we’re doing the same thing with racing the Mustang globally,” Rushbrook said. “We already have it in Xfinity. We already have a Mustang GT4 that is sold globally. We race the Mustang Funny Car in NHRA and now here we are with the new Mustang for Monster Energy Cup and the Australia Supercars Series.

“It’s really exciting to be extending the global reach of the Mustang even further.”

Rushbrook said its three main Ford organizations in the Cup series – Roush Fenway Racing, Stewart-Haas Racing and Team Penske – are sharing in the development of the Cup series Mustang model.

The formal submission process to NASCAR will begin in June.

Rushbrook said he believed Ford’s timing could not be better as its current model, Fusion, is still performing well for its exit.

“I think this is good timing for us, especially as we look at how Fusion is still performing with four race wins so far this year early in the season, that we felt we didn’t want to bring out a new car until we knew we could do it right and make a good step forward,” he said.

“We think we’ve got the tools and the team in place now that we can deliver that for 2019.”

Ryan Blaney is one of the many Ford drivers that was excited after the news broke on Tuesday. Watch his reaction and comments:

 

 

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