Ford Rolls Out Its 2013 “Driveway” Fusion
News and notes from Tueday’s Day 2 of the Charlotte Motor Speedway NASCAR Media Tour:
NASCAR officials and Ford officials took the opportunity of the annual Charlotte Motor Speedway Media Tour to roll out the new Ford Fusion which will compete in the Sprint Cup Series beginning in 2013.
And in introducing the car, all said they believed the Fusion would be a step toward returning NASCAR to use of vehicles which are more akin to the street cars they are supposed to represent.
“We wanted Fusion to be the car that helped return ’stock car’ to NASCAR,” Jamie Allison, director, Ford Racing, said. “I think fans, when they see the car, are just going to smile and cheer. It is going to re-engage them with the sport and make the sport better because there is just something natural about seeing race cars that look like cars in their driveways.”
NASCAR president Mike Helton said, “The NASCAR Nation is made up of car enthusiasts, and NASCAR fans certainly love to pull for a brand or make of car second only to being able to pull for their favorite driver,” said NASCAR President Mike Helton. “Today is a very significant landmark for us. It brings back the relevancy of NASCAR on the race track to what fans have in their homes and in their parking lots and garages and at their parking spots at work.”
Ford was the first of the carmakers involved in the sport to roll out its 2013 car.
The new Fusion was taken for a couple laps around the CMS track by Roush Fenway Racing driver Greg Biffle.
“It’s a pretty sexy looking race car,” Biffle said. “My blood is flowing right now. I am really excited. I can’t wait to start racing them and testing them.”
Chevrolet, Dodge and Toyota have not indicated when they will roll out their 2013 cars – cars which NASCAR allowed the four automakers to make more brand identifiable.
“The cars will not look anything like each other,” Allison said. “The car’s identity, the car’s definition, it happens at eye level. Every car will now look identifiable as its production sibling.”
The visit to Michael Waltrip Racing took on a talk show motif as Waltrip sat behind a desk and his drivers on a couch.
Waltrip began the evening by announcing his optimism for the season.
“I’m excited that we are one of the two tier-one teams with Toyota,” he said. “I love who we are.”
He went on to talk about his personal plans for the season. He hopes to strike a deal that will put him in the driver’s seat for his 27th consecutive Daytona 500. He is also the newest addition to the FOX broadcast crew as part of the Hollywood Hotel for the first half of the NASCAR season.
Waltrip kicked off his the talk show with his first guest, new driver Clint Bowyer and a unique 5-Hour Energy toast. Bowyer spoke about his enthusiasm for this new chapter in his life and career in 2012, his first season at MWR. Bowyer will pilot the No. 15 5-Hour Energy Toyota and he attributes this easy transition to his new team to the guidance of MWR Competition Director, Scott Miller.
“I am very relaxed coming to MWR,” said Bowyer. “The comforting factor of coming to a new place is when the captain of the ship is someone I am comfortable working with.”
Miller and Bowyer worked together during Miller’s time as competition director at Richard Childress Racing. Bowyer spoke highly of his new team members as well, specifically Mark Martin, who is also new to the MWR stable for 2012.
“Mark is someone I look up to and respect,” said Bowyer. “I almost shy away from him, like ‘this is Mark Martin’.”
Martin will share driving duties in the No. 55 Aaron’s Dream Machine with Waltrip. However, Waltrip had some advice for the NASCAR veteran on how to win the Daytona 500.
“Early on in the race, just eliminate half of the field,” said Waltrip.
Martin believes tandem racing will be back at Daytona.
“We can’t unlearn tandem racing,” said Martin. “Once we learn how to get 10 mph, we can’t unlearn it.”
As the youngest driver at MWR, Martin Truex Jr. plans to learn a lot from his new teammates and make the most of his 2012 season.
“These are all my make or break years,” said Truex, driver of the No. 56 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota. “You are only as good as your last race. I’m not here to float around. I know what I can do in a racecar. We need to finish the deal this year.”One Comment