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NASCAR team owner Gene Haas granted F1 license

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One of NASCAR's top team owners will add a Formula One program to his burgeoning stable.

Gene Haas, co-owner of the Stewart-Haas Racing organization that fields the cars of Tony Stewart, Danica Patrick, Kevin Harvick and Kurt Busch in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, has been granted a license by the FIA to start a Formula One team for the 2015 season. No team based in the United States has competed in F1 since Lola-Hart attempted a limited number of races in 1985-86.

"Obviously, we're extremely pleased to have been granted a Formula One license by the FIA," Haas said in a statement released Friday. "It's an exciting time for me, Haas Automation and anyone who wanted to see an American team return to Formula One. Now, the really hard work begins. It's a challenge we embrace as we work to put cars on the grid. I want to thank the FIA for this opportunity and the diligence everyone put forth to see our license application come to fruition."
 
Founded in 1983 and based in Oxnard, Calif., Haas Automation is the largest CNC machine tool builder in the western world. Stewart-Haas Racing won the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship in 2011. Haas is also founder of the Windshear rolling-road wind tunnel in Concord, N.C.

Stewart-Haas Racing competes out of Kannapolis, N.C., in a facility that's currently being expanded to better accommodate Busch's No. 41 program, which was added prior to this season. Haas has indicated in the past that the F1 operation may also be based out of the Kannapolis, N.C. facility.

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