Penske Racing puts 2013 Ford on track at Talladega

Ricky Stenhouse Jr.'s numberless Ford leads Sam Hornish Jr. (12), Juan Pablo Montoya (42) and Brian Vickers (15) during drafting practice in the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup car test at Talladega Superspeedway.
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All seven teams participating in the Sprint Cup 2013 car test Wednesday at Talladega Superspeedway had cars with the new body styles.

For six of them, it was just another test to build on what they’ve been working on for a couple of years.

For Penske Racing, it was a little different. For the first time in public view, the team was working on a 2013 Ford. Penske, which left Ford in 2002 for Dodge’s re-emergence in the sport in 2003, is returning to Ford after the 2012 season.

The test Wednesday was the first for Penske with the Ford.

“We’ve got a lot of things to do for 2013, so it’s good for us to get a start on it," Penske Racing vice president of operations Mike Nelson said. “We’ve got a lot of work to do. It was done just in time for the test. … It was good to get some laps, get some things dirty and see what we need to work on."

Driver Sam Hornish Jr. had a piece of black tape covering the Dodge logo on his uniform as he stepped into the 2013 Ford Fusion.

“There was no feel (difference) but definitely getting outside of it and just seeing the nose and especially the back end, just the way that the car looks and shape that it has that you really can tell it is a Ford," he said.

While Hornish was doing the testing, he doesn’t know yet his 2013 plans. He said team owner Roger Penske says he has a job for next year. Hornish is fourth in the Nationwide Series standings and has been filling in the No. 22 car since the suspension of AJ Allmendinger.

Joey Logano, who was testing a Joe Gibbs Racing car Wednesday, will drive the No. 22 car next year.

“I’d love to do some Cup races next year—I’d like to do all of them in fact," Hornish said. “If that’s not the case, hopefully we can do a couple here and there. … Hopefully we’ll be able to put all the sponsorship together to do a little bit of Cup racing next year."

Logano said he took a look at the car, but his focus was testing for JGR.

“I got out there and around him and followed him and checked out the stability of the car," he said. “I was just looking. I still work for Joe Gibbs." Sporting News

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