‘Building organically’ paying off for MSR

The Truck Assist Racing ZB Commodores of Todd Hazelwood (#35) and Jack Le Brocq (#34)

A significant step forward in 2022 is proof that Matt Stone Racing is on the path to success, says its eponymous team owner.

MSR joined the full-time Supercars Championship grid in 2018 on the back of winning the Dunlop Super2 Series the previous season.

It’s been a tough slog from there, two years as a single-car outfit followed by two years running two cars – all spent generally running towards the back of the pack. In fact, it’s never had a driver finish higher than 18th in the championship.

But this year, things are looking up.

Todd Hazelwood is holding down a spot in the championship’s top 10. Jack Le Brocq in the sister Truck Assist entry has looked just as quick, albeit having endured a nightmare run of in-race incidents.

Even so, MSR moved up to eighth in the teams’ championship by the close of the Melbourne 400, ahead of both Brad Jones Racing garages and now with Team 18 in its sights.

“We have always said we’re building here,” Matt Stone told Speedcafe.com.

“We’re building organically, we don’t have the unlimited budget to fast-track it, so we’re building as we do.

“But we have got more people, more experience in the team, more experience in the driver line-up, a really good culture and atmosphere this year and I think the pace on-track is starting to show evidence of all that.

“We have adjusted our approach to really try to maximise points, and turn the pace we have got into points.

“We’re very happy with what we’re showing so far. It’s a long season, so we need to just keep working on it.”

For all the positives, Stone admits there’s still an element of wanting more.

“We’re very happy with our pace in general, there’s been occasions like at Tassie where Jack has been qualifying right up the front, but unfortunately the Car #34 side of the garage has had a shocker in terms of luck this year,” he continued.

“But we’ve had race pace everywhere we have gone, and to be able to start from last [on Sunday at Albert Park] with both cars and start from near-last [on Saturday] with one car and move them up into or around the 15, it’s testament to the pace we have got.

“Jumping a few teams in the teams’ championship is definitely what our goal was this year.

“We look at what could have been with all the DNFs and silly ones we’ve had just from unexpected track incidents, we could be a lot further up based on our pace.”

Next up on the Repco Supercars Championship calendar is the Bunnings Trade Perth SuperNight at Wanneroo Raceway across April 30 to May 1.

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