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Gene Haas, Kurt Busch, Greg Zipadelli - Q&A

Stewart-Haas Racing co-owner Gene Haas unveiled Kurt Busch as the team's fourth driver at a special media press conference at the team's headquarters in Kannapolis, North Carolina on Tuesday afternoon.
It had gone from being a fantasy rumour to ouside bet, finally growing increasingly likely and then on Monday widely leaked as a done deal. But the actual confirmation that 2004 Sprint Cup champion Kurt Busch is to join Tony Stewart at Stewart-Haas Racing was only actually confirmed on Tuesday.

Stewart's co-owner in the team, businessman Gene Haas, attended the press conference making the official announcement, along with Busch himself and SHR competition director Greg Zipadelli.

Q:
Good afternoon, everyone. Thank you very much for coming to today's announcement. We have three speakers, really wish we had four with Tony Stewart. He certainly wants to be here. Still recovering from his broken leg sustained August 5. Certainly wants to be here. We'll get him back out in front of you guys sooner rather than later.

First off, want to introduce everyone here. On the far left, Gene Haas, co-owner of Stewart-Haas Racing. Kurt Busch, driver of the Haas Automation Chevrolet beginning in 2014. And Greg Zipadelli, competition director of Stewart-Haas Racing.

Let's go ahead and get started.

Gene, you're expanding Stewart-Haas Racing to a four-car team in 2014 and you're doing with a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion in Kurt Busch. How did this all come about?

Gene Haas:
Well, it's been a story in the making. There was an opportunity to have Kurt Busch join us as the driver. I'm in this business to win races. I talked to Kurt Busch over the years. He's been kind of a favourite of mine. I see his on-track performance. I thought this was a great opportunity to pair him up with Haas Automation, for him to be the driver of my choice. It was an opportunity that I just felt was too great to pass up.

I bent a few rules, pushed, had some conversations with Kurt. Everything started to line up. We just needed to figure out how we're going to do this.

One of the biggest problems in any race team obviously is sponsorship. With the other three cars having their sponsorship pretty much filled up, it was an opportunity for Haas Automation to be a primary sponsor. In the past, I've always been a co-sponsor on the Stewart-Haas Racing team. That's a good position to be in. I have no problems with that. This is going to be my shot at being a primary sponsor, going to the Daytona 500, the Brickyard as the primary sponsor.

Haas Automation has never been in the winner's circle, and I'm sure that's going to change next year.

So that's my primary reason for basically pushing this expansion. It's been met with a little bit of resistance. We have a lot of great people here that are going to have to work hard to make this a reality, but there's a lot of enthusiasm with it. As a matter of fact, I think the enthusiasm has been overwhelming from both people outside Stewart-Haas Racing and inside. A lot of people are telling me this is great, they feel enthusiastic. Attitude is what wins races.

I'm happy we're doing this. I think it's going to be an exciting year. I'm looking forward to it.

Q:



Related Pictures

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NASCAR driver Kurt Busch announces a deal to drive a fourth car for Stewart-Haas Racing in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in 2014 during a press conference at Stewart-Haas Racing on August 27, 2013 in Kannapolis, North Carolina.  (Photo Credit: Streeter Lecka/NASCAR via Getty Images)
NASCAR driver Kurt Busch announces a deal to drive a fourth car for Stewart-Haas Racing in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in 2014 during a press conference at Stewart-Haas Racing on August 27, 2013 in Kannapolis, North Carolina. (Photo Credit: Streeter Lecka/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Gene Haas, Founder of Haas Automation and co-owner of Stewart-Haas Racing, NASCAR driver, Kurt Busch and Greg Zipadelli, competition director for Stewart-Haas Racing, announce a deal with Busch to drive a fourth car for Stewart-Haas Racing in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in 2014 during a press conference at Stewart-Haas Racing on August 27, 2013 in Kannapolis, North Carolina. (Photo Credit: Streeter Lecka/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe’s Chevrolet SS, holds his daughter, Lydia Sunday, November 22, 2015 before final race of the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. Johnson and other Jeff Gordon teammates at Hendrick Motorsports wore tribute hats to honor the retiring Chevy driver prior to the start of the race. (Photo by Alan Marler/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet SS, races to a sixth place finish Sunday, November 22, 2015 in the final race of the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. Gordon finishes third in the Chase for the Cup Championship. This was Gordon`s last race as a NASCAR Sprint Cup driver. He has made 796 consecutive Cup Series starts, earned 93 wins, and 81 poles - all behind the wheel of Chevrolets. (Photo by Andrew Coppley/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Defending Sprint Cup Champion Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser/Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS, races to a second place finish, Sunday, November 22, 2015 in the final race of the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. Harvick finishes as the runner-up in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship. (Photo by Andrew Coppley/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Defending Sprint Cup Champion Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser/Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS, races to a second place finish, Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet SS finishes in sixth place, and Martin Truex, Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row/Visser Precision finishes in twelfth place Sunday, November 22, 2015 in the final race of the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. This Chevrolet drivers finished 2nd, 3rd and 4th (respectively) in the Chase of the Cup Championship. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Ryan Blaney and the Motorcraft/Quick Lane Racing Team battled back from a bad re-start after the first caution of the race to finish 17th in the season-ending Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. (Photo Credit: Campbell Marketing)
Series championship contenders Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 AXALTA Chevrolet, Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser/Jimmy John`s Chevrolet, Martin Truex Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row/Denver Mattress Chevrolet, and Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Crispy Toyota, take part in pre-race ceremonies for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 22, 2015 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Former racing driver Mario Andretti, Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 AXALTA Chevrolet, and Formula One World Champion Lewis Hamilton pose during pre-race ceremonies for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 22, 2015 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, and Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Crispy Toyota, race during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 22, 2015 in Homestead, Florida (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser/Jimmy John`s Chevrolet, Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Crispy Toyota, Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 AXALTA Chevrolet, and Martin Truex Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row/Denver Mattress Chevrolet, race during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 22, 2015 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Crispy Toyota, crosses the finish line to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 22, 2015 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Jonathan Ferrey/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Crispy Toyota, celebrates winning the series championship and the race with a burnout after the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 22, 2015 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Crispy Toyota, celebrates winning the series championship and the race in Victory Lane after the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 22, 2015 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Crispy Toyota, celebrates winning the series championship and the race with his team after the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 22, 2015 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Crispy Toyota, celebrates with the trophy in Victory Lane after winning the series championship and the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 22, 2015 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #54 Monster Energy Toyota, and Daniel Suarez, driver of the #18 ARRIS Toyota, lead the field on the first lap of the NASCAR XFINITY Series Ford EcoBoost 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 21, 2015 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/NASCAR via Getty Images)

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