NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES
TEAM CHEVY DRIVER PRESS CONFERENCE TRANSCRIPT
MARCH 30, 2014
GENE HAAS, NO. 41 HAAS AUTOMATION CHEVROLET SS – RACE WINNING CO-OWNER
FIRST THOUGHTS, SIXTH RACE OF THE SEASON AND KURT BUSCH AND THE NO. 41 HAAS AUTOMATION TEAM WON. YOU ARE OUT IN CALIFORNIA WHAT WERE YOUR THOUGHTS AS THAT BATTLE WORE ON AND THE RACE DREW TO A CLOSE?
“Well last week Kurt told me this was his worst race track, he never wins here. So obviously he didn’t get that right. It’s great. I think it’s great. I think he goes to a track he can’t win at, he doesn’t practice on Saturday and he wins. We have a new formula here.”
WERE YOU WATCHING ON TV AND WHAT WERE SOME OF YOUR REACTIONS DURING THE LAST COUPLE OF LAPS?
“I know that Jimmie Johnson won there a lot and it’s kind of his track. I was thinking that we would probably pull out in front of Jimmie Johnson and be there for a few laps, but he was better on the long run. I was kind of like going ‘well hey at least we made a good show’. It was a little bit iffy in the beginning of the race and that was overcome. Kurt kept his cool he did what he had to do and no matter how he finished I thought that was going to be great. Then when he went back and forth with Jimmie and he stayed out in front I was impressed with that. I think Jimmie was a real gentleman about racing him cleanly and not trying to push him out of the way. I think Kurt and Jimmie both did that. I think that was really good too. Ultimately they didn’t do what they typically do at the end of those races where they have multiple passes and all that stuff so those two guys did really well. I think we just came out on top of that. Any other day I think Jimmie would have come out on top. I was just really impressed with that and the great season to finally win a race with Haas Automation on the hood. It couldn’t have been better, well it could I could have been there.”
JUST THE REWARD YOU FEEL IN CREATING THIS FOURTH TEAM AS INVESTED AS YOU WERE IN IT TO SEE IT FINALLY PAY OFF WITH A VICTORY FAIRLY EARLY IN THE SEASON:
“Obviously it feels good. Basically there were a lot of naysayers and doubters out there about Stewart-Haas Racing. Tony (Stewart) having his injury last year and it looked like we were all washed up and out of business. But it just goes to show you that there is a team behind everybody that was always the back-up plan we are still going forward. Racing is tough. Every time you win you typically lose three times. It’s a very difficult sport and it’s always great to win. The challenges are great and that is what makes me feel good that we could overcome our adversaries. You feel really good when are racing hard against people that don’t give you an inch and then you can actually beat them. I feel really good about that. I feel great about Tony Stewart he certainly has taken the team to a certain level. Now it’s kind of like we are both working together and I think we make a good team to put a winning race team together. We have two drivers that have won early in the season so the choices that we made worked. When we have great people behind the teams and the cars, we’ve got Chevy as our partner and lots of sponsors to go with it.”
YOU GUYS CAME OUT OF THE BOX WITH A FOURTH TEAM KURT WAS 31ST IN POINTS AFTER FOUR WEEKS DOES THIS COME AS A RELIEF? WERE YOU WORRIED AT ALL? IS THIS KIND OF WHAT YOU EXPECTED ALL ALONG? ARE YOU WHERE YOU THOUGHT YOU WOULD BE?
“Well we are not point’s racing anymore. This is all about winning. Being ahead in points and not being able to win is really not going to get you very far. I think it’s really a whole new venue it’s a very exciting one. I’m looking for wins. How we do in the points isn’t nearly as important. You can look at the points but if you are not winning you are not going be there for the championship. I’m more concerned about running up front. It’s like practices, it’s always good to be top of your practice, but it really comes down to race day when you are racing your compatriots out there of who can beat who. Going out there by yourself on the track and having great lap times is one thing, but I think when it comes to the race that is a whole different animal. That is when I think Kurt Busch and the rest of the drivers do really well at Stewart-Haas Racing. That is where I think the concentration is going to be at is winning races. I don’t even care about the points that much.”
KNOWING KURT BUSCH’S MAVERICK REPUTATION DID YOU LIKE THE FACT THAT THIS RACE HAD A LITTLE BIT OF CONTROVERSY AT IT PERTAINED TO KURT, SPECIFICALLY IN HIS DUEL WITH BRAD KESELOWSKI?
“I think Brad Keselowski just was speaking a little bit prematurely. I think if you went back and looked at it he ran into the back of Kasey Kahne and then swerved a little bit to his right and right into the path of Kurt Busch. That is the way I kind of saw it. I’m sure he sees it differently, but I will be honest with you, I have been racing with stuff for a long time. Drivers run into us all the time and I think that is just part of racing. As far as Kurt Busch handling it I think he did a great job and we have obviously found a solution for Kurt Busch. When he is in Winners Circle he doesn’t bitch about anything so that is where we need to keep him.”
THE F1 RACE IN MALAYSIA STARTED JUST A TICK AFTER MIDNIGHT. WAS IT A LITTLE BIT EMOTIONALLY DRAINING TO WATCH AN F1 RACE THINKING OF WHAT THAT MIGHT BE FOR YOU IN THE FUTURE AND THEN TO WATCH THE NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES RACE AT MARTINSVILLE AND SEE KURT DUEL IT OUT FOR A WIN AND THEN ACTUALLY YOU ALSO HAVE A TRUCK WITH COLE CUSTER COMPETING IN THE TRUCK SERIES RACE. WAS IT DRAINING?
“That is what is wonderful about TV. I was watching the F1 race at 1:00 AM this morning. I was able to watch the Cup the race at 10 AM and now I’m watching a Truck race. I get to see it all on TV. The funny thing about racing to me is we put the pieces together they can work. Sometimes being at the races is the tough part. Watching it all work that is actually where I get a lot of enjoyment out of. The Formula 1 race those people are just racers. They are just as tough of racers as NASCAR just in a different part of the world. They are really all the same. I think we could do really well if we ever do have that opportunity.”
NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES