Ford gets jump start, first carmaker to unveil 2013 NASCAR model

James Raia

 For the third time, Ford has simultaneously launched production and NASCAR versions of a new model. The latest is the 2013 Fusion. It joins the first dual launch of Ford Torino (1968) and then in 2006 when the Fusion was selected the first time.

 With the announcement, Ford became the first manufacturer in NASCAR to unveil its 2013 car.

 "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."

 NASCAR officials worked with representatives of its four auto manufacturers to try to make the Sprint Cup car more closely resemble each manufacturer's production cars.

Ford's Fusion was a joint project between the Ford Design Center and Ford Racing.

 "We wanted Fusion to be the car that helped return 'stock car' to NASCAR," said Jamie Allison, director of Ford Racing. "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."

 The 2013 Ford Fusion mirrors its production car, which features has a redesigned silhouette and an identifiable front end grill. The overall proportion of the racecar now reflects proportions of the showroom Fusion, and the race car has brand and design cues in the side of the vehicle.

 Chevrolet, Dodge and Toyota have not said when they will unveil their 2013 cars.

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