Ford will switch to Mustang from Fusion in 2019 Cup racing

Brendan Marks
Charlotte Observer
Ford will replace the Fusion with the Mustang in Cup series racing in 2019.

Two years ago, it was the new Toyota Camry. Then it was the new Chevy Camaro this season.

Now it’s Ford’s turn to debut a new model for the NASCAR Cup Series.

Ford announced Tuesday that the Mustang will be the manufacturer’s new body for the 2019 Cup season. It will be the first time the Mustang races in the Cup Series, as Ford’s three prior bodies were the Thunderbird, the Taurus and currently the Fusion.

“This announcement makes me very happy,” Edsel B. Ford II, a member of Ford Motor Company’s board of directors, said in a statement. “Mustang is a car that is woven into the fabric of our country, and it’s only right that we put it on the track in NASCAR’s most visible series. I can’t wait.”

In recent years, the trend of NASCAR manufacturers releasing new bodies has been heavily discussed, especially given how Martin Truex Jr. drove the brand new Camry to a championship in its first season in 2017. Brad Keselowski, who made the championship four in 2017 driving a Ford, has been especially vocal about the need for a new Ford body.

But if anything, Ford has performed well this season in the current Fusion. Kevin Harvick won three straight races in it in the season’s opening weeks, and four of the top five drivers in the standings – Joey Logano, Harvick, Clint Bowyer, Keselowski – are Ford drivers (the lone exception being Kyle Busch atop the list).

Thirteen teams – including Penske, Wood Brothers and Stewart-Haas Racing – drive Fords.

Roger Penske, whose Penske Racing team drives Fords, originally let slip that a new Ford body was coming in 2018 at the Daytona 500 in February, but the official announcement did not come until Tuesday.

Ford has not finished testing the new Mustang, although a formal submission is due to NASCAR this summer. Then the body will be publicly unveiled at some point thereafter, with the goal for it to be ready for the 2019 Daytona 500.

“We’re combining America’s favorite sports car with America’s top stock car racing series,” Mark Rushbrook, global director of Ford Performance Motorsports, said in a statement. “Mustang is a perfect fit for our racing heritage today and tomorrow.”