MSR 2020 expansion talk ‘a bit premature’
Matt Stone Racing has confirmed an expansion to two cars is the ultimate goal for the team but admits suggestions it will grow for 2020 are a bit premature.
The Queensland squad graduated to the Supercars Championship last year with a one car effort for Todd Hazelwood, and is enjoying a far stronger showing in its second campaign.
However, its plans for next season remain up in the air with the squad working to secure its entry and its driver line-up with Hazelwood out of contract and evaluating his options.
The team is set to play a role in the silly season, attracting suggestions it could run two cars next season.
While refusing to completely rule out the talk, team owner Matt Stone believes the speculation is premature at this stage.
He did confirm that the team is continuing to work on purchasing the Racing Entitlements Contract it currently leases from former Supercars full-timer Jason Bright, to guarantee its spot on the 2020 grid.
“Look, it (expanding to two cars) is the long term goal ultimately, but for next year is a bit premature, but it is one of the silliest silly seasons yet and it is far from over,” Stone told Speedcafe.com.
“We will have just to wait and see.
“It is certainly our intention to purchase Brighty’s REC, if not another one, and we are working down that avenue.”
Although yet to secure a REC, the potential vacant seat is understood to be attracting attention with several drivers being linked to the drive.
Stone maintains there is still a chance for Hazelwood, who is talking to rival outfits, to stay if the team can make it stack up financially.
However, Walkinshaw Andretti United driver Scott Pye and Kelly Racing’s Simona De Silvestro have both been touted in the paddock as potential candidates to drive for the team.
“Next year is the third year and it is all an open book regarding how we make the best package both financially and performance wise to keep the team rolling the way it is and keep us on the grid.” said Stone, when asked if there was still a chance Hazelwood could stay at the team next year.
“This time of year is really what it is all about and is when myself and my commercial team gets to work, so everybody is talking and I think that is where everyone is at,” he added when quizzed if talks had been held with drivers.
Amid the silly season talk, Hazelwood and MSR are enjoying a period of strong form highlighted by an appearance in the Armor All Top 10 Shootout in Townsville earlier this month.
The performance has continued at this weekend’s Century Batteries Ipswich SuperSprint with Hazelwood fourth fastest and the top Triple Eight built Holden Commodore in Friday’s Practice 2 at Queensland Raceway.
“We are really happy and we are starting to prove our own trends a little bit,” said Stone.
“Here being our home track, we were hoping for good results and we are delivering early. I’m not going to count our chickens before they are hatch but if we keep this up then we will be very happy.”
The team will be back on track today with Practice 3 scheduled for 1035 AEST.