Stewart-Haas Racing introduced Kurt Busch as it's newest driver on Tuesday and SHR co-owner Gene Haas took full responsibility for the organization's move to expand to four teams and add Busch to its driver lineup.
"I didn't have really a chance to talk to Tony about it at all since he wasn't really talking to anybody," Haas said about Stewart's unavailability while recovering from a broken leg. "So I kind of did this on my own, probably overstepped my authority a tich there. I'm not used to having too many authorities to work with. I've been pretty much on my own. I did realize that Tony might be a little bit upset about it. He was, he was a little upset."
However, Haas said it Stewart wasn't upset with the concept of hiring Busch. It was the thought of expanding the organization to four cars just a year after moving to three and the struggles that came along with it.
"That's how it came about. We all know Tony's problems he was having, so I couldn't talk to him too much. When I finally did talk to him, he was saying, Maybe we should wait a little while. I think he actually said, 'You need to wait a while.' I kind of made an offer to Kurt here, I don't know if he's going to take it or not, and if he takes it, I'm not backing down. That's where we were."
"About a week later, Tony said, Okay, all right. He thought, it's okay. What are you going to do? Don't have much choice. It's a series of events. Chance meeting Kurt at the General Motors dinner, Tony being incapacitated where I couldn't talk to him, I wanted to do something. I stepped up and said I would fund it."
Because of the expansion to four teams, SHR will also have to build more space. Haas said that he envisions the construction on the addition to be open by June.
Busch is currently 12th in the Sprint Cup standings, six points out of the Chase with Furniture Row Racing. He said his new deal with SHR will not affect his push to get into the Chase with FRR before he leaves at the end of the season. Busch joined Furniture Row after racing for Phoenix Racing following his departure from Penske Racing at the end of the 2011 season.
"(Furniture Row owner) Barney Visser has done a tremendous job at making us a player, something that competes with the big dogs. It's been a tremendous effort this year by a lot of people. We've had some bad luck go against us, we've also had some good luck to be in position to make the Chase," Busch said.
"It's taught me a lot about myself on how to understand disappointment better, and it's also taught me a lot about how to help with crew members when they stumble or they trip on something, to be there for them. So that's why I feel like I'm in a better place mentally and spiritually as well. Barney is a guy that believes, and a lot of things happen for reasons. He's given me a tremendous amount to go out there and race against the big dogs. We still have 12 more weeks to do it."