(current front end of the Fusion)
NASCAR is expected to change the shape of all front bumpers of the Sprint Cup cars for the 2011 season to help improve brand identity for the manufacturers. For Ford, that could eventually expedite the nameplate switch from Fusion to Mustang. But first Ford officials want to see how the change would affect the front bumper of the Sprint Cup car.
NASCAR Vice President Robin Pemberton said Friday that the sanctioning body is close to approving the final specifications for the new front bumper.
The change will be in the bottom half of the bumper, which currently has a rectangular indentation where the bottom half does not stick out as far as the top half. The new front bumper will be more curved, and the change would eliminate the need for the front splitter braces because much of that area of empty space will now be part of the new curved lower half.
“We’re working on it – we’re close on that,” Pemberton said. “It’s just time for a style change. We’ve been working on it for about a year now. We’re working on [the brand identity] with the manufacturers.”
Some of what is being changed to the Cup car is being used on the new Nationwide car, which is going to be run for four races in 2010 and then full-time in 2011.
Ford and Dodge are introducing muscle-car nameplates (Mustang and Challenger) in conjunction with the new Nationwide car. Toyota and Chevrolet are keeping the Camry and Impala nameplates.
Ford Racing’s North America Motorsports Director Jamie Allison said Thursday that if everything goes well in implementing the Mustang into the Nationwide Series, as well as the changes to the front bumper of the Cup car, he would consider changing the Ford nameplate for Cup to Mustang.
“We want to see more brand identity in the cars,” Allison said Thursday during an event at the Henry Ford Museum near Detroit. “We’ve been asking NASCAR because we’ve liked what transpired in the Nationwide.
“Bringing the brand identity on Mustang has really brought a lot of brand interest in the sport. Our preference is to see Mustang in NASCAR. Starting in Nationwide and based on what we’re seeing in Nationwide and the direct connections to the fans and Mustang, it makes a lot of sense for us to progress it in Cup. It’s a long-term plan. We want to see it play out in Nationwide.”
What do you think about the possibility of Ford switching nameplates in NASCAR?
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!