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Fusion Gets Ready To Compete In "Great American Race"

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NASCAR driver Elliott Sadler can't wait to go racing in his New Ford Fusion. "Ford has done a tremendous job in really giving us a great tool to work with"

"The Great American Race," the 48th annual Daytona 500 is set to kick off the NASCAR Nextel Cup season on Sunday, Feb. 19 and the all-new Ford Fusion is gearing up to make its racing debut.

It is the first all-new nameplate for Ford to debut on the race track and in the showroom in the same model year since the Ford Torino in 1968.

Ford NASCAR drivers are putting the Fusion through the paces and are feeling good about the new car. “Ford has done a tremendous job in really giving us a great tool to work with,” said Elliott Sadler, driver of the No. 38 NASCAR Nextel Cup Ford Fusion, during the new car’s first test sessions at Daytona International Speedway in January. “I can’t wait to get it in some racing conditions, when the track’s really hot and slick and things like that."

Sadler, who put up the fourth-fastest speed overall at Daytona, thinks the Fusion will be very competitive in the Daytona 500. “I’ve got a car that’s handling great,” Sadler said. “I think to run good here at the Daytona 500, you’ve got to have a comfortable race car, and right now we have that.”

Dale Jarrett, Sadler’s Robert Yates Racing teammate, is the last Ford driver to win the prestigious Daytona 500, which he did in 2000. Jarrett also thinks the Fusion has what it takes to reach Victory Lane in the highest-profile event in stock-car racing.

“I believe with the change to the Fusion that that’s going to allow the Fords to get themselves in a position to be more of a factor in the Daytona 500 this year,” said Jarrett, driver of the No. 88 Ford Fusion.

Greg Specht, Performance Operations Manager for Ford Racing Technology, also is very pleased with the Fusion’s early showing.

“This is the first time we’ve been under real, live testing conditions against other manufacturers, and so far things look pretty good, so we’re pretty excited about it.”