After announcing four different variants of the all-new 2013 Ford Fusion when it was introduced earlier this year in Detroit—including models driven by traditional gas engines, EcoBoost powerplants, a hybrid propulsion system and a plug-in hybrid setup—it turns out the Blue Oval had one more special edition waiting in the wings: The 2013 Ford Fusion NASCAR Sprint Cup racer. And in the same way its production brethren were designed to upset perceptions when they arrive in consumers’ driveways, the racecar is geared to change peoples’ thinking when it hits NASCAR’s speedways.
The difference here is a simple one. As most fans know, NASCAR entries must meet rigid design specs that were first put in place to ensure a level playing field for all competitors. But the fallout has been a steady parade of racecars that are not only almost identical beneath the skin, but also appear to have been stamped out of the same template for exterior design, too. Worse, especially for enthusiasts, is the fact that the current generation of Sprint Cup cars bears only the slightest resemblance to what the automakers have on sale in dealerships, essentially taking the “Stock” out of the “National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing.”