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Holdsworth closing on factory-backed Tickford Ford Supercars switch

Lee Holdsworth is in contention for a move to Tickford Racing for 2019, having emerged as one of two leading contenders for a spot at the factory-supported Ford Supercars squad

The three-time Supercars race winner is in need of a new home for 2019, with long-time Tickford driver Mark Winterbottom set to replace him at single-car outfit Team 18.

A Holdsworth/Winterbottom swap could be on the cards, as Holdsworth has emerged as a favourite to join Tickford should the team part ways with Richie Stanaway at the end of this year.

Holdsworth was close to signing for Tickford - then known as Ford Performance Racing - to drive a Bottle-O Ford in 2012, before making a late decision to join Stone Brothers Racing instead.

"I feel confident that there will be something for me next year," said Holdsworth when quizzed on Tickford rumours by Autosport.

"But certainly nothing is locked away.

"At the same time it's hard to know how to feel, because I don't know if I'm off [the grid] or not.

"There are a couple of things bubbling away, so we'll see if something comes up."

The other leading contender for the potentially-vacant Tickford seat is Jack Le Brocq who, despite claiming to be contracted at Tekno for 2019, could move amid ongoing speculation over the team's future.

The availability of a Tickford drive hinges on whether or not the squad continues with Stanaway.

The New Zealander is contracted for next season, but could still end up out of a full-time drive after enduring a difficult rookie campaign.

Cam Waters and Chaz Mostert are locked in for next year, while a fourth entry is tipped to come through an alliance with Will Davison and 23Red Racing.

Michael Caruso is another driver who has been linked to Tickford, given that he's yet to re-sign with the Kelly Racing squad, but it is understood his best chance of a full-time seat remains at the Nissan-shod outfit.

In a Facebook post on Sunday night, Caruso quashed suggestions he could sit out the 2019 season altogether.

"Don't believe everything you hear, guys, I am absolutely having positive discussions around continuing my full time Supercars career in 2019," Caruso wrote.

"It's just not my style to be in the media and use the press to create hype; I like to get on with my business and work in the background.

"Here's hoping I have some news to share soon."

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