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Gene Haas didn't need Stewart's permission to do deal with Kurt Busch

Tony Stewart may be the front man of his race team but co-owner Gene Haas is still very much a player.

Haas made that perfectly clear Tuesday in taking full responsibility for hiring 2004 NASCAR champion Kurt Busch as Stewart-Haas Racing's fourth driver.

Haas courted Busch while Stewart was out with a broken leg. Stewart learned of his plans and urged Haas to slow down, but Haas said he overruled Stewart and moved forward with an offer to Busch.

Busch accepted a multi-year deal to join SHR, which will double in size from two full-time cars just two years ago to four cars in 2014.

Haas will pay for Busch's team out of his pocket behind his CNC machine company Haas Automation.