Steve Owen will continue to race under the Dick Johnson Racing umbrella in 2013 with his #49 VIP Petfoods-sponsored Ford Falcon, after Paul Morris, who owns the Racing Entitlements Contract for that entry, confirmed he would remain with the Queensland-based team for another season.
Morris, who ran a two-car Paul Morris Motorsport franchise until the end of the 2011 V8 Supercars Championship season, opted to split his two RECs between DJR and Tekno Autosports, with the latter’s #91 entry being driven by Michael Patrizi in a Holden Commodore under a lease agreement with the team.
Speaking with the SpeedCafe website, Morris confirmed that this arrangement would remain for at least one more season, with Teko Autosports having the option to buy the REC from Morris at the end of 2013.
There had been speculation that Morris would move the Teko-leased REC into the DJR stable, following its loss of the REC held by former DJR co-owner Charlie Schwerkolt, who will move his #18 entry to Ford Performance Racing at the end of the year.
Morris has since confirmed that this is not the case, while also adding that Owen – who currently lies 18th in the Drivers’ Championship standings with four top-ten finishes this year – will remain in the cockpit for another season.
“My REC that [Tekno] has got, [they have] a lease on it for next year, or an option to buy it at the end of this year. Those are the facts,” he is quoted as saying.
“With my other REC, I intend to have DJR run it, just like the arrangement we have this year. Definitely, Steve will be there,
“He is our strike bowler at DJR at the moment. Obviously we want to be further up the field, but Steve is part of the package and he fits in well with everything we do. I’ve got his back as much as I have Dick’s and anyone else’s in the team.”
What is not yet confirmed is if Morris’ longstanding sponsorship from VIP Petfoods will continue, although the burly Queenslander confirmed that negotiations for a multi-year deal were in progress.
Morris will get back behind the wheel as a co-driver to Owen for the upcoming endurance races at Sandown and Bathurst.