Race Weekend Central

What’s Vexing Vito? Ford Sticking With Fusion

It was reported by Lee Spencer of FoxSports.com that Lisa Brown has left her position as CEO of Richard Petty Motorsports. Brown has taken a position as a senior adviser to the President of Medallion Financial Corporation.

Coincidentally, Brown helped introduce the clothing brand Nautica to NASCAR, while keeping Richard Petty Motorsports afloat, and steering it through its transition from nearly going under a year ago, to riding a wave of success in 2011. Now she is jumping ship. How many more terrible puns can I conjure up in a paragraph remains to be seen.

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Somebody sure has lit a fire under Joey Logano lately. Ever since the rumors started floating around that Home Depot wanted to cut Sliced Bread in favor of Subway’s man Carl Edwards, the performance increase has been pronounced. Prior to the Memorial Day weekend race at Charlotte, Logano had one top 10 all season long. Since then, he has two third-place runs, a pole and a sixth at Sonoma, and even stuck up for himself and drove Robby Gordon off line and nearly into the turn 11 tire barrier. The same goes for David Ragan as well.

Well, kind of. His Charlotte runner-up finish in May many thought was the sign of things to come – except it wasn’t. Until his first career win at Daytona last Saturday night, Ragan’s best post-Charlotte finish was a 13th at Kansas. Even though Ragan has won a race, Logano is in a much better position to keep his ride, while even with a win in the former flagship No. 6 car at Roush Fenway Racing, Ragan’s tenure seems all but temporary.

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While it was reported earlier this year that Ford was submitting the Mustang nameplate for approval for the 2013 Sprint Cup season, the Blue Oval has since backtracked, electing to go with the Fusion instead. Director of Ford Racing Jamie Allison said, “The Fusion is so important to our company, it’s our best-selling car and when we launched the Fusion, we launched it here in NASCAR. We believe that NASCAR is a platform that can help us compel the fans to the fact that we have an exciting sedan in Fusion, as well as Mustang.”

I read into this a couple of things: The same guy who is making this decision above him must be the same one who decided that the Impala was a better choice in the Nationwide Series to compete against the Dodge Challenger and Ford Mustang. Then again, 2014 is scheduled to be final year for the current Mustang platform and body style. Not much use in engineering and configuring a car that will be raced for a year before they need to start working on an all-new one.

Plus, you know, if you’re into brand identity and manufacturer loyalty, you can buy a 412-horsepower, V8-powered, rear-wheel drive Fusion.

Oh wait.

About the author

Vito is one of the longest-tenured writers at Frontstretch, joining the staff in 2007. With his column Voice of Vito (monthly, Fridays) he’s a contributor to several other outlets, including Athlon Sports and Popular Speed in addition to making radio appearances. He forever has a soft-spot in his heart for old Mopars and presumably oil-soaked cardboard in his garage.

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