John Gilbert Staff Editor
January 13, 2016

Remember back in 2007 when NASCAR first introduced its cookie-cutter clone design the Car of Tomorrow? Some thought the next step would be to do away with 1st 2nd and 3rd place winners and issue participation awards to all the drivers instead.

Well, its no more “hey look the giant generic beer can just passed the giant generic soap box, wonder what kind of car it was?” the nondescript Cars of Tomorrow faded away in 2013 like all dumb ideas should, and being able to identify one’s favorite car is back.

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Much like in 2013 when NASCAR allowed manufacturers to include more brand-specific characteristics, Ford once again used the talents of its designers to make sure the same eye-catching components that are included in the new 2017 Ford Fusion production car appear on the racing version. The result is an aggressive-looking race car capable of producing 750 horsepower at 9,000 rpm under the current rules package.

“There’s no mistaking we’re here to win races and championships,” said Dave Pericak, global director, Ford Performance. “And we believe the new NASCAR Fusion will be a powerful tool in the hands of our teams and drivers.”

“Aerodynamics are more important than ever in this sport at the speeds these cars are running, so we used some of the best wind tunnel and computational fluid dynamics technology available to help create this new Fusion, and fortunately the Ford design team gave us a great vehicle to work with from the start.”

The new NASCAR Fusion successfully follows in the tire tracks of its predecessor by not only mirroring the exterior of its production counterpart but also bringing a better interior to the driver.

Ford’s NASCAR drivers will digest more information through a new digital dashboard system that is mandatory for this season. Teams can switch between as many as 16 different preset screens to display information and see information in either bar graphs, numbers or the standard gauge and needle that has been used for years.

This latest technological advancement from NASCAR comes on the heels of several significant changes, including the Gen 6 model that brought brand identity back to the sport in 2013, switching to electronic fuel injection in 2012 and going to an ethanol fuel blend in 2011.

Ford has continued to refine its own technological program as well, opening up the Ford Performance Technical Center in Concord, North Carolina, in 2014, which features a state-of-the-art full motion simulator that assists both racing and production car development.

“The Technical Center and the full-motion simulator have been a great tool for our teams and engineers,” said Pericak. “As important as aerodynamics are in NASCAR, it’s also imperative that the computer simulations that assist the teams in arriving at the track with a proper set-up are also best-in-class. We have been working very hard the past year to refine our simulation tools to create a real benefit to our race drivers, as well as the drivers of our new high passenger vehicles.”

Daytona 500 marks first official points race for new Fusion on February 21, 2016

The new Fusion will debut during Daytona Speedweek and compete for the first time in a Sprint Cup points race on Sunday, February 21 during the 58th running of the Daytona 500 in Daytona Beach, Florida. That marks the first of a 36-race schedule, which culminates with the champion being crowned at Ford Championship Weekend in Homestead, Florida, on Sunday, November 20 — and now a word from our sponsors.