This year’s iteration of the NASCAR Fusion will be competing for the first time in February at Daytona Speedweeks. Ford has been aggressively preparing its racing vehicle for the major event. Memories come to mind of the same preparations by Ford three years ago.
After NASCAR gave the go-ahead for car makers to create racing cars that are customized according to what characteristics the auto companies want to infuse in them, Ford wasted no time in mobilizing its designers to create a racing version of that model year’s Ford Fusion.
How does the new Fusion race car differ from the production counterpart? By looks alone, both cars look the same but the difference is felt when entering the car. As mandated by the rules of this year’s NASCAR season, a new digital dashboard system will display information to the racing teams through various graphical representations such as bar graphics, numbers or an electronic gauge-and-needle display.
The screen has 16 different display presets for the teams to choose from. These innovations are a result of different technological changes that have come to NASCAR since 2011. These include the brand-defining Gen 6 model which ultimately defined NASCAR racing.
Other changes include mandatory ethanol fuel blends beginning in 2011, and the use of electronic fuel injection since 2012. Ford kept up with the changes as well with several technological programs of its own. For instance, since 2014, it has been using a full motion simulator to design its fleet of vehicles, including racing cars. This simulator is used in the Ford Performance Technical Center, located in Concord, North Carolina.
Before the NASCAR race, Ford’s NASCAR Fusion makes an appearance in Las Vegas. It will participate in a Goodyear Test Session with 2012 Sprint Cup Series champion Brad Keselowski behind the wheel.
The session will take place at the Motor Speedway in Las Vegas for two days. The event marks the start of Keselowski’s fourth season with Ford. In the previous season, Keselowski added more to his accolades by winning first place at the Auto Club Speedway.
The driver earned 7th place in terms of points, qualifying for The Chase along the way. Keselowski had piloted the Ford Fusion in 8 winning Sprint Cup Series seasons. This marks the 11th year of the Ford Fusion as a flagship vehicle for the NASCAR race event. Beginning in 2006, the Fusion was the car behind 71 Sprint Cup Series victories.
Most remarkable of which is Greg Biffle’s victory for Roush Fenway Racing on June 16, 2013. The victory at the Michigan International Speedway was a milestone, being Ford’s 1000th win in the entire NASCAR series. Joey Logano also brought distinction to the Ford Fusion when he piloted one year last year to victory at Daytona 500.
This was Team Penske’s first win at what is considered The Great American Race. Feb 21 will be the day that the new version of the Ford Fusion officially races for the first time. This will be a Sprint Cup points race, which will also kick off this year’s season of the Daytona 500.
There will be 36 races total in the entire season. February 21st’s race will take place on Florida’s Daytona Beach. For NASCAR and Daytona 500 enthusiasts, they can follow the entire 36-race season up to its conclusion at Ford Championship Weekend on November 20. The concluding ceremony will take place in Homestead, Florida.