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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)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet, and team owner Tony Stewart celebrate winning in Victory Lane after the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Marcos Ambrose, driver of the #9 Stanley Ford, poses with his team before his last race, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, 2014 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet SS, celebrates his victory and the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship Sunday, November 16, 2014 winning the final NASCAR Sprint Cup race of the season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Caterpillar Chevrolet SS finishes 2nd. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet SS, celebrates his victory and the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship Sunday, November 16, 2014 winning the final NASCAR Sprint Cup race of the season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Caterpillar Chevrolet SS finishes 2nd. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet SS, celebrates his victory and the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship Sunday, November 16, 2014 winning the final NASCAR Sprint Cup race of the season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Caterpillar Chevrolet SS finishes 2nd. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet SS, celebrates his victory and the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship Sunday, November 16, 2014 winning the final NASCAR Sprint Cup race of the season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Caterpillar Chevrolet SS finishes 2nd. (Photo by Christa L Thomas/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet SS, celebrates his victory and the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship Sunday, November 16, 2014 winning the final NASCAR Sprint Cup race of the season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Caterpillar Chevrolet SS finishes 2nd. (Photo by Garry Eller/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Chase Elliott, driver of the #9 Napa Auto Parts Chevrolet, wins the EnjoyIllinois.com 300 race at Chicagoland Speedway on July 19, 2014 in Joliet, Illinois. (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #51 ToyotaCare Toyota, pits during the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Ford EcoBoost 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 14, 2014 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images)
Matt Crafton, driver of the #88 Jeld-Wen/Menards Toyota, and his daughter Elladee take part in pre-race ceremonies for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Ford EcoBoost 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 14, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Caterpillar Chevrolet SS, who is in the Championship Four final phase of the Chase, qualified for 21st position Friday, November 14, 2014 for Sunday`s final NASCAR Sprint Cup race of the season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. Newman is 3rd in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings.(Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet SS, who is in the Championship Four final phase of the Chase, qualified for 5th position Friday, November 14, 2014 for Sunday`s final NASCAR Sprint Cup race of the season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. Harvick is 4th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings.(Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet SS, who is not in the Championship Four final phase of the Chase, qualified for 2nd position Friday, November 14, 2014 for Sunday`s final NASCAR Sprint Cup race of the season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. He will be joined on the front row by Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet SS who won the Pole position. Photo by Garry Eller/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet SS, who is not in the Championship Four final phase of the Chase, won the pole position Friday, November 14, 2014 for Sunday`s final NASCAR Sprint Cup race of the season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. He will be joined by Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet SS on the front row. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Caterpillar Chevrolet, speaks during a press conference prior to practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Quicken Loans Race for Heroes 500 at Phoenix International Raceway on November 7, 2014 in Avondale, Arizona.  (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/NASCAR via Getty Images)

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