Ford Performance announced Tuesday morning that it plans to bring the company’s iconic Mustang to the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series in 2019.
According to the manufacturer, it will be Ford’s fourth different Monster Energy Series model since the “modern era” began in 1972 – the Mustang will follow the Thunderbird, Taurus and Fusion, the current model.
“This announcement makes me very happy,” said Edsel B. Ford II, a member of Ford Motor Company’s board of directors, in a press release. “Mustang is a car that is woven into the fabric of our country, and it’s only right that we put it on the track in NASCAR’s most visible series. I can’t wait.”
The move follows similar decisions from fellow manufacturers Toyota and Chevrolet, which changed their body styles significantly over the past two years. Chevrolet introduced the Camaro ZL1 into the Monster Energy Series this year.
Ford has used the Mustang in the NASCAR Xfinity Series since 2011.
According to Ford officials, the Mustang is still going through initial testing and will be formally submitted to NASCAR for approval this summer.
“NASCAR has a really good process that continues to get better every year,” Ford Performance Global Director Mark Rushbrook said during a Tuesday teleconference. “It’s a very well-defined process for timing. The submission will happen through June of this year, and then depending on how things go on that initial test, that will lay out the rest of our timeline.”
Ford drivers and even team owners have hinted throughout the season that a body change was likely coming in 2019.
“We’re obviously very excited,” Rushbrook said. “It’s something we’ve been working on for some time. There’s been a lot of speculation about it, and we’re happy we can put that to rest.”
Ford Performance has six organizations and 13 teams in its NASCAR lineup, including Wood Brothers Racing, Roush Fenway Racing, Team Penske, Stewart-Haas Racing, Front Row Motorsports and Go Fas Racing.
“We tried to leverage the skill across all of our teams,” Rushbrook said. “We’ve had active engagements from Roush Fenway Racing, Team Penske and Stewart-Haas Racing. They’ve been the main contributors to this, but (all of the teams) are anxious to get the best car on the track in 2019, so they’ve been very active with us.”
Five of the top six drivers in the Monster Energy Series standings belong to the Ford family, with Joey Logano the highest in second place. The manufacturer has won four of eight races this year as well, with Kevin Harvick winning three straight and Clint Bowyer breaking a 190-race winless streak earlier this year at Martinsville.