NASCAR team owner Gene Haas granted Formula One entry

Kannapolis, NC ( - Gene Haas, founder of Haas Automation and co-owner of Stewart-Haas Racing in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, was granted a Formula One license by the FIA on Friday.

The FIA, which is the governing body of Formula One racing, confirmed that it has accepted an application from Haas to enter a new team in the F1 world championship as early as the 2015 season.

"Obviously, we're extremely pleased to have been granted a Formula One license by the FIA," Haas said in a statement. "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."

Haas Automation, founded in 1983 and based in Oxnard, Calif., is the largest CNC machine tool builder in the western world. Haas also founded Windshear, a 180-mph rolling-road wind tunnel in Concord, N.C., that is the first of its kind in North America. It is only the third rolling-road wind tunnel of its scale in existence and the world's first commercially available, full-scale, rolling-road wind tunnel.

Haas has been a team owner in NASCAR's premier series since 2002 when he established Haas CNC Racing. In 2008, he joined forces with Tony Stewart to form Stewart-Haas Racing, which has been in Sprint Cup competition since the start of the 2009 season.

SHR expanded to a four-car operation this season. It fields Chevrolets for drivers Stewart, Kevin Harvick, Danica Patrick and Kurt Busch, who's team receives primary sponsorship from Haas Automation.