Ford revealed its all-new Mustang NASCAR Cup race car Thursday. It marks the first time Mustang will compete in NASCAR’s top-level Cup racing series.
The debut came in Detroit when retired NASCAR champion Tony Stewart drove the car out in front of an assembled crowd of fans and journalists. Stewart was joined by all 13 Ford drivers currently competing in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series.
“The car guy in me wants to look at the lines and how sexy it is,” said Clint Bowyer, who drives for Stewart-Haas Racing and replaced Stewart when he retired.
“You put in the due diligence, put in the effort, in the hope it will perform better, obviously,” he said. “It’s like everything in life. You put your blood, sweat and tears into it. But you really don’t know until you go out and line her up and see what she does. With the technology and everything we have in today’s day and age, we think it’ll be bigger and better than we’ve ever had.”
Even before Mustang became a global icon, its first competition was in 1964, when it surprisingly won the Tour de France Automobile, a grueling 4,000 mile, 10-day rally. Soon after, it began a racing legacy in SCCA Trans-Am, IMSA, NHRA, Formula Drift and NASCAR Xfinity – NASCAR’s second tier series.
“Ever since we announced in April that Mustang would be going to the Cup level in 2019, we’ve heard nothing but positive feedback,” said Mark Rushbrook, global director, Ford Performance Motorsports. “Our Ford Performance team has worked hard with the Ford Design team to create a Mustang that will be competitive on the track while remaining true to its proud heritage. We can’t wait to see it winning races in the NASCAR Cup Series next year.”
Mustang has been competing full-time in the NASCAR Xfinity Series since 2011 and has won a championship in all but one season. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. won back-to-back driver’s championships in 2011 and 2012, while Roger Penske has claimed the owner’s title in four of the last five years.
“We look forward to seeing the Ford Mustang, a cultural icon, on the track in the most competitive series in all of motorsports,” said Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR executive vice president and chief racing development officer. “Our sport eagerly anticipates the performance, style and fanfare the Mustang will bring to the track each weekend beginning at the 2019 Daytona 500.”
The first race for the new NASCAR Mustang will be the Daytona 500 on Feb. 17, 2019.