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« NASCAR’s secrecy creates doubt in the Mayfield case | Main | Were some teams using tricky transmissions in the Challenge? »

Get out of jail…Collect one million dollars

By admin | May 17, 2009


By Richard Allen

Tony Stewart's #14 was a million dollar ride in the All Star Challenge.

It has been a very interesting last few days for Gene Haas. For that matter it has been a very interesting last couple of years for Gene Haas.

Haas surrendered to federal authorities in January of 2008 to begin serving a 24 month prison sentence. He had earlier pleaded guilty of conspiring to cheat the government out of millions of dollars in taxes owed by his company, Haas Automation, Inc.

He was released from the Los Angeles area correctional facility where he had served his sentence on May 8, 2009. Haas received permission from a federal judge to attend NASCAR events while serving out the remainder of his sentence on a supervised release program.

During his 16 month prison stint, Haas joined in a partnership with one of the most successful drivers in recent NASCAR history, Tony Stewart. Midway through the 2008 season Stewart was essentially given 50% of the previously languishing Haas team, and thus, Stewart-Haas Racing was born.

Stewart’s initial season behind the wheel and behind a desk at SHR has been a somewhat surprising success. Even with support from powerful Hendrick Motorsports, it would have been difficult to foresee the type of success this team has experienced so far in 2009.

That success reached a high point on Saturday night when Stewart won the Sprint All Star Challenge at the Lowe’s Motor Speedway. In so doing, he and his newly released business partner collected a cool $1 million. That’s not a bad payday for a man less than two weeks out of jail.

For Gene Haas, who was in attendance at the Charlotte area track on Saturday, that win had to seem like a liberating experience, in more ways than one.

Richard Allen is a member of the National Motorsports Press Association. His weekly column appears in The Mountain Press every Wednesday.

Topics: Articles |

2 Responses to “Get out of jail…Collect one million dollars”

  1. Charles Says:
    May 18th, 2009 at 8:14 am

    I might be wrong, but in my take is this is nothing but a front loaded Rick Hendrick Team!
    Hendrick is a shrewd businessmen, I cannot help but wonder the Phoniex Racing car at Talledaga was a front and a test car as well! Not taking away from Brad winning the race!
    Now it seems Hendrick controls more teams than anyone and I thought Nascar was trying to reduce multi teams, Roush controls Yates as well! Just shows alot of times the more Nascar makes rules the worse it gets! Big money is not helping the sport, and they will soon control Nascar if not already!

  2. KW Says:
    May 18th, 2009 at 11:56 am

    Charles,

    The team that you are referring to has had Hendrick engines and chassis since 2002 with no success until Tony Stewart arrived. Could this simply be a coincidence???? I don’t think so!

    There are many organizations that have the same type of business relationship that Stewart-Haas has with Hendrick and because nobody has had any success until now, it didn’t matter.

    Maybe you should look at the entire picture before jumping to an immediate negative conclusion.

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