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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)
Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Farmer`s Insurance Chevrolet SS, races to win with Kyle Larson, driver of the 42 Target Chevrolet SS beside him finishing in eighth place Sunday, August 31, 2014 in the Nascar Sprint Cup race at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Georgia. With this win, Kahne, a Hendrick Motorsports driver, is in the Chase. (Photo by Alan Marler/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Farmer`s Insurance Chevrolet SS, celebrates his win with a burnout Sunday, August 31, 2014 in the Nascar Sprint Cup race at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Georgia. With this win, Kahne, a Hendrick Motorsports driver, is in the Chase. (Photo by Christa L. Thomas/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Farmer`s Insurance Chevrolet SS, is congratulated by his Hendrik Motor Sports teammates Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Panasonic Toughbook Chevrolet SS (left), Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe’s/Kobalt Tools Chevrolet SS (center) and Dale Earnhardt, Jr., driver of the #88 National Guard Chevrolet SS (right) after his victory Sunday, August 31, 2014 in the Nascar Sprint Cup race at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Georgia. With this win, Kahne joins Gordon, Johnson, and Earnhardt Jr. in the Chase. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Farmer`s Insurance Chevrolet SS, celebrates his victory Sunday, August 31, 2014 in the Nascar Sprint Cup race at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Georgia. With this win, Kahne, a Hendrick Motorsports driver, is in the Chase.  (Photo by Christa L. Thomas/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Ryan Blaney, driver of the #29 Cooper Standard Ford, races during the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Chevrolet Silverado 250 on August 31, 2014 in Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada.  (Photo Credit: Rainier Ehrhardt/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #5 Bad Boy Buggies Chevrolet, races Chris Buescher, driver of the #60 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Ford, during the NASCAR Nationwide Series Great Clips 300 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on August 30, 2014 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo Credit: Jeff Curry/Getty Images)
Tony Stewart, driver of the #14 Bass Pro Shops/Mobil 1 Chevrolet SS, qualified for twelfth position Friday, August 29, 2014 for Sunday`s Nascar Sprint Cup race at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Georgia. After a three-race absence, Tony Stewart has returned to the track at Atlanta. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Caterpillar Chevrolet SS, qualified for fourth position Friday, August 29, 2014 for Sunday`s Nascar Sprint Cup race at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Georgia. Newman is 9th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kyle Larson, driver of the #42 Target Chevrolet SS, qualified for third position Friday, August 29, 2014 for Sunday`s Nascar Sprint Cup race at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Georgia. Larson is 12th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. (Photo by Christa L. Thomas/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS, won the Pole position Friday, August 29, 2014 for Sunday`s Nascar Sprint Cup race at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Georgia. It was Harvick`s sixth pole win of the 2014 season. He is 7th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Tony Stewart at Dover International Speedway on May 30 2014. (Photo Credit: Rainier Ehrhardt/Getty Images for NASCAR Media)
Paul Menard, driver of the #27 Serta/Menards Chevrolet SS, finished ninth and Austin Dillon, driver of the #3 Dow Great Stuff Chevrolet SS, finished 28th Saturday, August 23, 2014 in the Nascar Sprint Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo by Alan Marler/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jamie McMurray, driver of the #1 McDonald’s Chevrolet SS, finished eighth and Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Great Clips Chevrolet SS, finished 35th Saturday, August 23, 2014 in the Nascar Sprint Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet SS, finished fifth Saturday, August 23, 2014 in the Nascar Sprint Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet SS, finished fourth and Kyle Larson, driver of the #42 Target Chevrolet SS, finished twelfth Saturday, August 23, 2014 in the Nascar Sprint Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/HHP for Chevy Racing)

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