Todd Hazelwood has shared a special moment from his childhood karting days, posting a photo of the first time he met Craig Lowndes and Jamie Whincup.
Uploading the memorable throwback to his social media accounts overnight, the photo shows a 10-year-old Hazelwood alongside the Supercars legends in 2006.
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Sharing the story behind the snap, Hazelwood admitted he had stars in his eyes when he met the Triple Eight duo.
“It was back in the start of 2006,” Hazelwood told Supercars.com.
“The YP Dirt Kart Club used to run the first meet of the year, so it was always exciting for us young karters to get up and running.
“There was talk amongst the paddock that a Supercars team was going to be coming to York Peninsula, which was unheard of.
“It was the first time Supercars drivers had come to a dirt kart race meet before, so everyone was really excited when the Supercars truck came to town.”
The South Australian began his career in dirt and sprint karting before stints in the junior-open wheel classes of Formula Ford and Formula 3.
Earlier this month, Hazelwood celebrated his 100th race start at Symmons Plains Raceway, in his second season for the BJR squad.
Reflecting on the day he met his driving heroes, Hazelwood added: “I remember they had a signing session in town, so I bought a model truck and got it signed.
“Then Lowndes and Whincup come out to the racetrack and I think they got in a dirt kart and did a few laps' demonstration against each other.
“I lined up with so many karters for the photo and took the kart up there with pride.
“Obviously, it was in dirt karting, so we were cleaning everything up, trying to get the kart as clean as possible for the photo.
Hazelwood in the #14 TRG Solutions Commodore at The Bend
“It was a really cool moment as a kid, they were my heroes growing up and it was a special moment.”
Visiting his hometown of Adelaide for the OTR SuperSprint last weekend, the 25-year-old marked his 50th championship round start at The Bend.
Finding time to go through the family photo albums while on home soil, the 2017 Super2 champion recognised the importance of looking back on his achievements.
“It’s quite amazing to think in quite a short period of time what can be achieved when you’ve got your head down and focussing on a goal,” Hazelwood said.
“I use that as motivation for myself and that’s what keeps me going.
“Looking back at those moments where you’re just a kid with a dream, you don’t know how you could even get to where those guys are in their careers.
Hazelwood scored his maiden pole in Townsville in 2020
“Where I am now, I am very fortunate that I’m in the position that I dreamed of as a kid.
“It’s always good to look back because it’s keeps you grounded, humble and appreciative and not take where I am for granted.
“It’s always cool to upload this stuff, if it’s a young karter that coming through the ranks and they see something like that, they see it’s doable and it can be achieved.
“I just want to send a message to kids that anything is doable if you dedicate yourself and put your mind to it.”
Hazelwood shared his thoughts on seven-time champion Whincup, who is stepping back from the sport as a competitor.
Hazelwood with mum Sharon and partner Alice Litzow
“It’s always sad when you lose the best that the sport has ever seen,” he said.
“People can say what they want about who is the best driver in pit lane in our sport, but the stats don’t lie.
“Jamie’s done amazing things behind the wheel, we have lost some big names in the past few seasons so you never like to see these guys go but might open the door for some other people to start winning races, as he won a lot of the years.”
The Repco Supercars Championship field will return to Victoria for the Winton SuperSprint across May 28-30. Tickets are available here.
The event will be broadcast live on Foxtel and will be streamed on Kayo with highlights on 7 and 7 Plus.