28 Feb 2018
REIGNING Dunlop Super2 champion and Adelaide local Todd Hazelwood is ready for his main game debut with Bigmate Racing at the 20th edition of the Adelaide 500 this weekend.
By Matthew Agius
TODD HAZELWOOD has enjoyed some surreal moments over the summer, and there's at least one more to come when the lights go green this weekend at the Adelaide 500.
There, Hazelwood will put his foot down in the Bigmate Falcon's debut in the main game.
It's the first race for Hazelwood and the team since they clinched the Dunlop Super2 title last December.
Team Principal Matt Stone is son of Jim Stone - co-owner of the successful Stone Brothers Racing team that returned the Blue Oval to championship status in the early 2000s.
It's a winning pedigree that Hazelwood is hoping will pay off with a top 15 finish, particularly after a strong showing in the recent full-field test day in Sydney where his car was 13th fastest.
Above: Hazelwood with the new-look Adelaide 500 trophy [pic: Adelaide 500 Twitter]
"For us, we're a new driver-team combo - we're the only combination up and down pitlane with that," Hazelwood said.
"From the outside looking in, we've got pretty low expectations, but from our point-of-view, if we can get inside the top 15, that would be a win for us.
"We're all new to pitstops and strategy, and with a whole new car and team as well."
Hazelwood joins fellow South Australians Nick Percat, Tim Slade and Scott Pye on the grid in 2018, and like them, has fond memories of watching the iconic race as a child.
Years of hard racing in karts and Super2s will come to a head for Hazelwood when he jumps into Car #35 for qualifying on Friday.
"It's been a lot of work to try and get to this point, and to now put the wheels in motion is a very surreal moment," Hazelwood said.
"Being a one-eyed Ford supporter as a kid, I remember sitting on the fence with my sister at Turn 8.
"I used to be an avid supporter, and to be on track now ... in the 20th year of the Adelaide 500, is very special."
The 20th edition of the Adelaide 500 kicks off on Thursday 1 March with feature race category action, including Dunlop Super2, before the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship hits the track for qualifying on Friday and races on Saturday and Sunday.