Hazelwood optimistic of 2020 seat

  • Virgin Australia Supercars Championship
  • |
  • 19/07/2019
  • By Stefan Bartholomaeus

Todd Hazelwood believes there’s ‘no reason why’ he won’t find a place on the Supercars grid next season, following a series of strong showings in 2019.

The 23-year-old is an active player on the driver market, having been told by Matt Stone Racing in late-May that he should be looking elsewhere for 2020.

Hazelwood has driven for MSR since debuting in Super2 in 2014, winning that title in ’17, before graduating to the main game together last year.

After a troubled rookie campaign that included a mid-season Ford-to-Holden switch, upgrading to a Triple Eight ZB has allowed Hazelwood to shine in 2019.

That has included top 10 qualifying efforts at Adelaide, Phillip Island and Townsville, the last of which came in the form of a third in regular qualifying and fourth in the Shootout.

Asked by Supercars.com if he’s optimistic of landing a 2020 seat, Hazelwood said: “Yes. There’s no reason why I can’t be on the grid next year.

“I think I’ve proven myself this year, why I should be on the grid and hopefully that’s the case next year.”

Hazelwood has been touted as a chance with several squads, including Walkinshaw Andretti United, should it opt to run a second new recruit alongside Chaz Mostert next year.

Although refusing to be drawn on the level of interest from rival teams, Hazelwood admits the time is now to be working on a deal.

“Obviously we’re seven months into the year now, so it’s the best time to be sorting those things out,” he said.

“There’s always been hurdles in my career that I’ve had to manage and overcome, and everything going on now is just another hurdle.

“I’m trying to manage that the best I can and not let that affect what I’m trying to do on track. I think what we saw in Townsville was a good sign of that.”

Hazelwood’s standout Townsville qualifying effort turned into just 16th in the race, thanks largely to a puncture.

A 10th on the Sunday in Adelaide remains the only top-10 finish of his career to date; a statistic he hopes to change on home soil at Queensland Raceway next weekend.

“Townsville was a great weekend, it’s just a shame we didn’t get the fairy tale ending. It was a bit of a bittersweet end, but a lot of positives to take out of it,” he said.

“Obviously qualifying was exceptional, creating a bit of an upset, and then to back it up in the Shootout as well showed it was no fluke and that we have the speed to do the job.

“That was a great thing, great momentum, and we’re going to our home round now at Ipswich and we can hopefully back up that result and keep pushing forward.”

MSR tested at Queensland Raceway on Thursday, giving new co-driving recruit Jack Smith his first laps aboard the team’s Commodore.

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