First look: Ford Performance shows off 2020 NASCAR Xfinity Series Mustang

Ford’s Mark Rushbrook shows off the 2020 NASCAR Xfinity Mustang on Thursday in Michigan.

Mark Rushbrook, global director, Ford Performance Motorsports, knows that a new Mustang for the 2020 NASCAR Xfinity Series will not a guarantee better results. But he likes the new car’s chances.

On the other hand, Ford’s switch from the Fusion to the Mustang for the 2019 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series has gone quite well, thank you – seven wins, two of the top three drivers in the standings. Ford sits second in the manufacturers’ standings, well within striking distance of series leader Toyota.

“We had definitely seen others struggle, and that was certainly of concern for us,” said Rushbrook, who helped unveil the 2020 NASCAR Xfinity Series Ford Mustang race car on Thursday in Royal Oak, Michigan, site of this weekend’s Woodward Dream Cruise. “We didn’t want to have the same struggles. 

“It was important that we would be competitive from the beginning of the 2019 Cup season with the new Cup Mustang. I think it was just paying attention to the details. We leverage all of our teams — Roush Fenway, Penske Racing, Wood Brothers and Stewart-Haas Racing — to make sure everything we designed into the car gave them what they needed to go race the car.

The Ford Mustang for the NASCAR Xfinity Series sports a familiar-looking front end.

“And we did it early enough that even though we were focused on winning the championship in 2018, we were working just as hard on the new car so that we would start 2019 with success.

Ford wasted little time finding victory lane with its 2019 NASCAR Mustang, winning the second race of the season with Brad Keselowski winning at Atlanta. Defending Cup Series champion Joey Logano followed that up with a win the next week at Las Vegas. 

“We wouldn’t have made the change in Cup it if we thought we were going to take a step back,” Rushbrook said. “You never want to throw away a season or even a single race. I guess you can say I was relieved that we have had success with it. Certainly our goal was to be as fast, or faster, than the Fusion.

Rushbrook is hoping for similar success with the Mustang in the Xfinity Series.

The Ford Mustang for the Xfintiy Series will make its racing debut in February at Daytona Beach, Florida.

“We don’t want to take a step backward,” Rushbrook said. “That is our intent, that we are going to keep working hard on this car. Even though it won’t race until February of next year, we’ll be working on it hard through the end of this year and January of next year.”

Ford has been racing the Mustang full time in the Xfinity Series since 2011, winning the driver’s championship three times and the owner’s title six times.

In addition to the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup and NASCAR Xfinity Series, Ford Performance also fields the Mustang in the National Hot Rod Association Funny Car division, Virgin Australia Supercars Championship and grassroots Cobra Jet. Each has won in 2019.

Here’s how the current Mustang matches up with the 2020 model.

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