April 21, 2012

2013 Ford Racing Fusion


It’s Race Weekend at Kansas Speedway, which basically means that unless you are attending a race, stay away from KCK and the Legends.  The #1 thing I heard was how much the area around the track has grown. 
There were tires...
The main issue that I ran into today was trying to take pictures of only Ford Sprint Cup cars.  My dad taught me years ago to “dance with the one you brought.”  Or in this case the one who brought me out to the raceway on an unseasonably chilly day.  All of the 2012 Sprint Cup cars look the same.  I had to first find a manufacturer sticker before I could shoot a picture.  I didn’t hesitate to shoot Clint Bowyer’s #15 5-Hour Energy Toyota Camry (When you’re from Emporia and racing in NASCAR, then you always get a plug from this site).  Luckily Columbia’s own, Carl Edwards, is a Ford driver, but that Aflac duck was sneaky...
Bowyer's #15 5-Hour Energy Ride
Ford invited me out to see in person the 2013 Ford Fusion race car prototype and it did not disappoint.  With angry exhaust as a soundtrack, I snapped numerous pictures of the new car and the old car.  The new cars will have electronic fuel injection and careful steps have been taken to maintain the wonderful symphony that is NASCAR exhaust.
The production car donates styling to the race car, but other than that there isn’t anything in the race car that you can find in the production car.
2013 Fusion next to 2012 Fusion
NASCAR and all the manufacturers got together to put together the measurements and requirements for the new cars.  The measurements of the new race car are different from the old car.  There are several hard points where the manufacturers had to have certain measurements, but after that they were all allowed to make them unique to their brand.  
left: 2013 Fusion curvy nose    right: 2012 Fusion flat front end
The new production Fusion’s lines are distinctive and so are the race car's.  There is no one who will walk over to the car that think it could possibly be a new Chevy or Toyota.  Maybe they might think it's an Aston Martin, but how many NASCAR fans have seen an Aston.  Was that too judgmental? I'm a NASCAR fan and I really think the fan base is changing...  Definitely a topic for another post...  
The nose has contours and curves that make it 2 inches longer than the old car's front end.  Where the old front end was a solid wall hit the air, the new car knifes through with curves and predatory grille.  
The front windscreen is raked farther back helping with aerodynamics and fuel efficiency.  The windscreen new raking also helps the car to not look like something out of the late 60's or early 70's.  The roof and rear windscreen are also lower to reduce drag and allow for better aerodynamics.  
The old car has a steeper front windscreen and taller roof.
 The rear end of the ’13 Fusion race car is up to four inches shorter than the 2012 model.  When the cars were lined up nose to tail, I could notice a difference on the rear deck and rear bumper.  The old car's is squared off and massive.  I've made the joke about enough back end to belong in a Hip Hop music video way too many times, but the old car's butt is huge.  The 2013 is shorter, curvier, and helps to reduce drag while improving fuel efficiency.  An analogy that comes to mind is the Mythbuster's episode of driving with the tailgate of your pickup up or down.  Spoilers: down equals reduced fuel efficiency...
The rear spoiler is also slightly curved on the 2013 car.
The rules surrounding the windows have changed as well.  No longer does every team have to use the exact same windows.  They can now replace some of the glass with sheet metal, allowing the manufacturers to curve and shape the surfaces to look like the “stock” production cars.  As long as the cars are still inside the realm of standards laid out, the cars exteriors can be adjusted to better reflect the production cars and improve the aerodynamics.
                All of the safety features that have been implemented in the 2012 cars have carried over to the new models for next season.  This includes all of the seat improvements, harness devices, padding in the doors, fire extinguishers, etc.  
Did Montoya pull the fire extinguisher handle at Daytona?
Matt Kenseth said after driving the 2013 Fusion race car that it drives exactly like the 2012.  The same performance out of a vehicle that looks so much better is definitely a win-win situation.
The haulers are lined up by points. Stewart is last year's champion, so he's first.
After the 2013 Fusion was examined by a team of top notch Scientists (including myself), we infiltrated the garage area (with the appropriate passes) for a short tour.  Greg Biffle’s #16 3M hauler was left unlocked.  Hijinks were set to ensue, but crew members who valued their jobs talked us out of it.  The hauler contains everything that the team could possibly need on a race weekend, even a Keurig machine, bananas, springs, coils, chemicals, gloves, and brand name carpet.  
Even the carpet smelled like winning
I asked permission to take some pictures because certain items that were laid out had super-secret information written on them and I really didn’t want to get anyone fired just so the eight people who read this blog can feel like they had a behind the scenes look.  Biffle is leading the points right now, so I don’t want to be the one to ruin that either…
Behind the hauler were Biffle’s, Kenseth’s, and Eranhardt Jr.’s cars in the garage.  Everything was up for grabs picture-wise, except for the engine compartment.  It’s like they’re trying to win a race or something…  Up close the 2012 cars are impressive, but the exhaust is incredibly loud.  Without ear protection, hearing loss probably begins immediately.
Is Ford proud of the EcoBoost brand?
All of the crews were extremely polite and no one seemed the least perturbed that some bearded guy was wandering through the garage with a camera.  Thank you, Ford Racing, for an incredible experience.  I never thought I'd ever be this close to vehicles that routinely travel at 200 mph.
I was already looking forward to driving a 2013 Fusion production car, but the look of 2013 Sprint Cup series car has me very excited for next year.  Good Luck to everyone this weekend!

2013 Ford Fusion Racing
Putting the “stock” back in Stock Car Racing.

P.S. I heard that phrase so often today that I had to write it down, but I totally didn’t come up with it.  Please don’t sue me if you did.

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