Martinsville test provides first look at 2013 Ford

2013 Ford Fusion in the Martinsville garage

Now that the 2013 NASCAR Fusion has been approved for competition next year, it's time for the drivers and teams to see how good it can be on the track.

That means testing, testing and more testing.

During a recent on-track session at Martinsville Speedway in Martinsville, VA, a mixed crew made up of members from Roush Fenway and Wood Brothers Racing put Ford's latest model through its paces and while the focus was on making the car go fast, much of the talk centered around how it looked.

"This is the first time I've driven the 2013 NASCAR Fusion and it's great," said Carl Edwards. "Ford has done a great job with us and at the end of the day we like fast cars and we like neat cars. That's why I started racing and that's why all of these guys enjoy the sport so much, so it's really cool to walk in the garage and see such a beautiful Ford race car sitting there."

While Edwards was turning laps around the half-mile oval, many racing observers on hand watched and smiled because it brought back memories from past decades when cars had a distinct look from one another.

2013 Ford Fusion in the Martinsville garage

"I really like it because it looks like the Fusion that's going to be in the showroom," said Eddie Wood, co-owner of the No. 21 Motorcraft Fusion and lifelong NASCAR competitor. "The biggest thing I like about it is it reminds me of the '69 Cyclones and Torinos and Talladegas with the Cyclone spoilers we ran in the late sixties. It's got the fastback roof and all that, so I'm looking forward to painting ours red and white.

"It's a modern look, but it's kind of got a throwback style," continued Wood. "I think it's got everything. I think it's got appeal for the young people that are of age to buy cars, and I think it's got the appeal of guys my age that have been around a while. I wish we could run it now."

His brother, Len, felt much the same way saying, "I think it looks like the cars we used to race, the old Mercurys and Torinos and things we had back in the seventies. I'm really pleased with it because it looks like a street car. I haven't seen a grille like that in years on a race car. I think it looks great."

The 2013 Fusion will debut in February during Speedweeks at Daytona International Speedway with its first official points race being the Daytona 500. That means crew chiefs Chad Norris and Donnie Wingo have six months to fine-tune the necessary race packages required for all of the different tracks on the NASCAR circuit and it's something both are looking forward to because of the product.

"Anything new is always exciting and fun, and it's always challenging to try to figure out how you're going to make it go fast," said Norris, who took over as Edwards' crew chief last month. "That's what we do as racers, so it's always a challenge looking forward to 2013 to see how we can make this car go as fast as possible."

"The final version is really awesome. I think it's got great body lines on it and it looks really nice," added Norris. "It looks really close to the production car, and overall, I think it's really good for the fans."

Wingo, who has served as crew chief for Trevor Bayne the past two seasons and played a key role in helping him win the 2011 Daytona 500 for the Wood Brothers, echoed Norris saying, "It looks a lot more like the street version and what the fans want to see, so I'm excited about it. I'm looking forward to 2013."

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