Ford asks NASCAR to approve Mustang for 2013

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. ? The Ford Motor Co. has informed NASCAR it would
like to race the Mustang in the elite Sprint Cup Series beginning in
2013.
"We have declared our interest to NASCAR that we would like to see the
Mustang in Cup," Jamie Allison, director of Ford's North American
Motorsports program, told The Associated Press on Friday.
The approval process to replace the Fusion with the iconic muscle car
could take all year, and depends on the Mustang being competitively
equal to the sedan models entered by rival manufacturers Dodge,
General Motors and Toyota.
Ford's motive is to get a car on the track that resembles one that can
be purchased off a showroom floor.
"We are driving to make sure that the car we race is more consistent
and more in context with the cars we sell," Allison said. "They have
to look like the cars we sell."
Allison praised NASCAR for switching to an ethanol blend fuel this
season. And with Friday's announcement that fuel injection will be
used in 2012, that makes two moves that cross over into passenger
cars.
The push remains, though, for manufacturers to have a race car with a
strong resemblance to vehicles sold to consumers. Allison said the
response was overwhelming last season when the Mustang ran in four
second-tier Nationwide Series events as a precursor to its full-time
use in that series this year.
"It certainly exceeded all expectations," Allison said. "We knew
Mustang's affinity from fans, but we did not anticipate the fans who
don't follow NASCAR getting so excited. There is a whole cottage
industry of Mustang enthusiasts, a group that typically does not
follow NASCAR. But when the car was introduced in NASCAR, it started
garnering attention.
"It really shows because of the car, what it means to people, they
started taking an interest. And now, when you stand and see the car
coming down the backstretch, you can see it's a Mustang and that's
important."
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