Haas put deal together with Busch on his own

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After all, Stewart in July cited an inability to expand to four teams in releasing Ryan Newman to make room for Harvick.

Tony was very much in favor of the fourth team,” Zipadelli said. “What Tony was against was us trying to get it done for next year, just so you don’t read anything more into it. Tony was in the hospital. Tony didn’t know the discussions that were going on. When we all met and talked about it and assured him we would do our best to make sure things didn’t slip through the cracks, it took him a couple days to process it.

“But it’s an opportunity of a lifetime for a race team to have a caliber of a driver like this. I know he’s very excited about it now. But it’s a little overwhelming when you’re first hit with it.”

With Busch in the lineup, SHR will have three drivers with a combined 96 Cup victories and four championships. They also have a combined 675 top-10 finishes.

Busch leaves Furniture Row Racing, where he was in a one-year deal and trying hard to get back with a top team after his 2011 firing from Penske Racing following too many temper tantrums. He’s turned Furniture Row, a single-car team with one win in its history, into a car that runs up front with a shot at making the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship.

Haas believes Busch will do even more than that at SHR. And once Busch starts winning, Stewart will see that Haas was right all along.

“Since it wasn’t Tony’s idea, he was taken aback a little bit by it. But I think he saw it wasn’t a bad idea,” Haas said. “In retrospect it looks like it’s going to be a great idea. If we don’t win any races next year, hey, I’m going to look like an idiot.

“I take gambles, I made a decision, and I think I’m going to be proven right. I think we’re going to win a lot more races than anybody ever thought possible.”

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