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Sunday, May 26, 2024


MATT Stone Racing is considering blooding a rookie driver next year should it part ways with Todd Hazelwood.

The likely Hazelwood/MSR split has taken the Supercars world by storm today, the 26-year-old having previously been considered a lock to stay where he is into 2023.

However, it’s understood that Hazelwood has approached MSR to navigate a release from the second year of his contract given an opportunity has presented itself at the Blanchard Racing Team, where Tim Slade is leaving at season’s end.

“The team is working with Todd and assessing next year and whether it’s the best fit for both parties and whether we as a team would be better situated investing in a young rookie – and perhaps he might have an option, as it has become obvious, at another team where he could be a lead driver,” MSR owner Matt Stone told V8 Sleuth.

MSR has long prided itself on supporting young talent and has a wide range of options to consider with Declan Fraser, Zak Best, Cameron Hill and Tyler Everingham among those eyeing a promotion from the Dunlop Super2 Series.

“We’re seeing the trend in Supercars of the rookie and the pro, like Triple Eight have really shown how that can be done at the top level,” Stone added.

“We have always had a good preference towards rookie drivers and trying to find that next young talent who is going to be a superstar.

Todd Hazelwood (#35) and Jack Le Brocq (#34) on track. Pic: Matt Stone Racing

“The other wildcard in all of that is next year being a brand-new platform, a rookie driver would allow us an extra three rookie days of testing, so certainly those factors are appealing to us and fit with our brand of how we go racing.

“JLB (Le Brocq) certainly with his qualifying is proving to be an asset to the team, so if we were to decide to part ways with Todd, that may be a direction we’d look.”

MSR fielded Hazelwood as a rookie in 2018 before giving both Zane Goddard and Jake Kostecki their first shot at a full-time Supercars gig when they shared Car #34 as part of a SuperLite program.

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