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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)
Ryan Reed, driver of the #16 Lilly/American Diabetes Association Ford, Kenny Wallace, driver of the #26 JGL Racing Toyota, Ryan Sieg, driver of the #39 Uncle Bob`s Self Storage Chevrolet, and John Wes Townley, driver of the #25 Zaxby`s Chevrolet, are involved in an on track incident during the NASCAR XFINITY Series Winn Dixie 300 at Talladega Superspeedway on May 2, 2015 in Talladega, Alabama.  (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images)
Dale Earnhardt, Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS, qualifies for fourth position Saturday, May 2, 2015 for Sunday`s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Talladega Superspeedway in Lincoln, Alabama. Earnhardt, Jr. is eighth in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet SS, qualifies for second position Saturday, May 2, 2015 for Sunday`s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Talladega Superspeedway in Lincoln, Alabama. Kahne is sixth in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. Hendrick Motorsports teammate and Pole winner Jeff Gordon, driver of the #5 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet SS will join him on the front row Sunday. (Photo by Garry Eller/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet SS, wins the Pole position Saturday, May 2, 2015 for Sunday`s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Talladega Superspeedway in Lincoln, Alabama. Gordon is tenth in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. Hendrick Motorsports teammate Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet SS will join him on the front row Sunday. (Photo by Andrew Coppley/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet SS, wins the Pole position Saturday, May 2, 2015 for Sunday`s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Talladega Superspeedway in Lincoln, Alabama. Gordon is tenth in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. Hendrick Motorsports teammate Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet SS will join him on the front row Sunday. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Greg Biffle, driver of the #16 Ortho Ford, climbs out of his car during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway on May 1, 2015 in Talladega, Alabama.  (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images)
Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet, celebrates with champagne and crew chief Tony Gibson in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond International Raceway on April 26, 2015 in Richmond, Virginia.  (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond International Raceway on April 26, 2015 in Richmond, Virginia. (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images)
Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond International Raceway on April 26, 2015 in Richmond, Virginia. (Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet, celebrates with a burnout after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond International Raceway on April 26, 2015 in Richmond, Virginia. (Photo Credit: Daniel Shirey/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet SS, wins, causing his crew to celebrate Sunday, April 26, 2015 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Richmond International Raceway in Richmond, Virginia. (Photo by Alan Marler/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet SS, races to victory Sunday, April 26, 2015 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Richmond International Raceway in Richmond, Virginia. (Photo by Andrew Coppley/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet SS, celebrates his victory with a burn-out Sunday, April 26, 2015 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Richmond International Raceway in Richmond, Virginia. (Photo by Alan Marler/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet SS, celebrates his victory Sunday, April 26, 2015 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Richmond International Raceway in Richmond, Virginia. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Cars race during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond International Raceway on April 26, 2015 in Richmond, Virginia. (Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

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