Ford is bringing its Mustang to NASCAR’s top series for the first time.

The American automaker said Tuesday the Mustang will replace the Fusion in the Monster Energy Cup Series beginning next February at Daytona International Speedway. NASCAR team owner Roger Penkse slipped earlier this year, divulging that Ford would have a new body in 2019.

This will be Ford’s fourth Cup model in NASCAR’s modern era (since 1972), following the Thunderbird, the Taurus and the Fusion.

Mustang has competed in the second-tier Xfinity Series since 2011, winning championships in all but one season.

Mustang is still going through initial testing and will be formally submitted to NASCAR for approval this summer. A public unveiling of the finished product will follow.

Mark Rushbrook, global director, Ford Performance Motorsports, says ”we’re combining America’s favorite sports car with America’s top stock car racing series.” He adds that the ”Mustang is a perfect fit for our racing heritage today and tomorrow.”

More AP auto racing: www.racing.ap.org

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