2022 F-150 Lightning

Something historic will happen at the Martinsville Speedway during the NASCAR Cup Series on April 9. The Ford F-150 Lightning will be the official pace vehicle to start this race. This marks the first time an all-electric pickup truck will act as a pace vehicle.

The F-150 Lightning is Ford's first all-electric pickup truck. Since it's the pace vehicle's responsibility to keep the drivers at a startup speed, it's unlikely that the Lightning's instantaneous torque and 563 horsepower will be displayed at Martinsville.

“Ford is fully invested in electrification and the response to Lightning has been so overwhelming that it was an easy decision to bring it to a NASCAR event,” said Jeannee Kirkaldy, motorsports marketing manager, Ford Performance.  “One thing we definitely know is that our fans love trucks and we’re confident that feeling will only grow when they see Lightning out on the track leading the field to green.”

”We can’t wait to show our Ford fans how capable the F-150 Lightning is. With 563 horsepower, 775 lb.-ft. of near instantaneous torque and a 0-60 mph time in the mid-4-second range, I think it will turn some heads out on the track.” said Darren Palmer, vice president, Ford electric vehicle programs.

This marks the second straight year an all-electric Ford vehicle will pace a NASCAR race after the Mustang Mach-E led the field at Talladega Superspeedway in April. Ford became the first OEM to use an electric vehicle to pace a NASCAR race way back in April 2012 when the all-electric Ford Focus paced the field at Richmond, Va.

“I haven’t driven the Lightning yet, but if it’s anything like the Mustang Mach-E, it’s going to be a blast,” said NASCAR Cup Series driver Ryan Blaney.  “I hope it ends up being the only thing in front of me once the race starts.”

Jimmy Dinsmore is the Automotive Editor The Weekend Drive, a nationally syndicated automotive journalist and published author of two books including Mustang by Design (available now) and Ford Trucks: A History of the Ford F-Series (available this fall)