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Mustang enters NASCAR for the first time in 2010

Mustang will be Ford Motor Company’s new race vehicle in the Nationwide Series when it begins a limited rollout of its version of the “Car of Tomorrow” in 2010. Mustang’s motorsports history includes many types of racing including drag racing, road courses, and drifting. Mustang is the most successful car in Ford's long racing history, but it hasn’t competed in NASCAR until now.

Brian Wolfe, director of Ford North American Motorsports, made the announcement this past week that Mustang will debut as part of NASCAR’s “new car” limited rollout in the Nationwide Series. “We’re excited about Mustang coming to NASCAR,” said Wolfe. “It’s the most successful product nameplate in racing history, and it seems only right that it should be coming to the most popular form of racing in North America.”
“We’ve been talking with NASCAR for some time about Mustang as part of its vision for a “Muscle Car” rollout for the Nationwide Series. We both saw it as a way of differentiating the series from Sprint Cup,” said Wolfe. “We loved the idea, so we jumped at the chance to extend Mustang’s racing legacy to a new series reaching a huge and loyal audience. Mustang has dominated other forms of racing, including NHRA drag racing, Grand-Am Cup road racing, and formula D drifting, and now it’s coming to the Nationwide Series. I think the race fans and Mustang loyalists will be very pleased when we publicly roll out the first car later this fall.”
Ford Racing has gone through the official NASCAR submission and approval process for the new car and once templates are finalized, production of the Mustang parts will start so teams can build the first cars for testing later this fall.
”We’re excited about the new car in the Nationwide Series, and particularly the new body styles such as the Ford Mustang,” said NASCAR President Mike Helton. “It’s going to be one good looking race car.”
The 2010 Ford Mustang will join the 2010 Fusion (Sprint Cup) and the 2009 Ford F-Series (Camping World Truck series) as Ford’s competitive entries in NASCAR’s three major professional series.
“We’re excited to be able to race Mustang in front of our loyal fan base and know it’s going to win races and championships just like it has in every other series that it has competed in,” said Wolfe. "The Mustang created the pony car movement when it debuted in 1964. Now, Mustang has the opportunity to create a whole new look to stock car racing at the highest levels”
From the time the very first Mustang rolled off the assembly line in 1964, it was destined to race.  Whether it be from the 1960’s drag racing cars and the Shelby GT 350-R SCCA racers, to the Trans-Am Boss 302 Mustangs of the seventies, to the IMSA and Trans-Am cars of the eighties and nineties, to the drag race and sports cars of today, Mustang has been a winner.   
Mustang currently competes professionally in the NHRA Funny Car and Pro Stock divisions and places like the KONI Challenge, SCCA World Challenge, and the Mustang Challenge Series. In addition, thousands of Mustangs see action by grass roots racers at road courses and drag strips all across America. Since its debut in 1964, Mustang has  compiled more than 2000 professional racing victories in NHRA, Grand-Am, IMSA, SCCA, NMRA, and NMCA as well as other series.
NASCAR had hopped to roll out the new “Car of Tomorrow” Nationwide Series car at Daytona in February, but after meeting with team owners at NASCAR’s Tech Center in Concord, North Carolina it appears it may be the July 2010 Daytona race before the new car makes its debut on the track. No surprise, it’s all about the economy.  Team owner Rusty Wallace said, “The economy is killing us. It’s all about bringing this thing out at the right time where the teams can afford it and we’ve got time to be prepared.”  
You can reach Pete Barber at talkinracing @journalpress.com

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