Haas earns FIA approval

FONTANA, CA - OCTOBER 08 2010:  Team owner Gene Haas sits on pit road during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Pepsi Max 400 on October 8, 2010 in Fontana, California.  (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR)

FONTANA, CA – OCTOBER 08 2010: Team owner Gene Haas sits on pit road during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Pepsi Max 400 on October 8, 2010 in Fontana, California. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR)

DARLINGTON, S.C.—Now the real work begins for team owner Gene Haas, who received word he has been granted a license to race in Formula 1 by the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA), the governing body of F1 racing.

“Obviously, we’re extremely pleased to have been granted a Formula One license by the FIA,” Haas said in a statement released Friday. “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.”

The FIA hasn’t licensed new teams for F1 competition since 2010. Haas’ F1 effort is independent of Stewart-Haas Racing, and SHR co-owner Tony Stewart has no involvement in the F1 project.

GOING GREEN AT DARLINGTON

On Friday morning at Darlington Raceway, David Ragan surprised fans in the infield while pursuing the efforts of his sponsor, CSX, to support green initiatives.

Ragan toured the infield distributing recycle bags, chatting with fans and encouraging them to plant trees.

“CSX already had an environmental program in place where they pledged to plant one tree for every mile of railroad track they had, and they actually surpassed their goal, which is impressive,” said Ragan, who is driving the CSX “Play it Safe” Ford for Front Row Motorsports this weekend.

“Now we’re encouraging fans to follow their lead and plant some trees, too, by donating dollars to plant trees at NASCAR.com/Green.

CSX’s “Trees for Tracks” program set a goal of 21,000 trees (corresponding to the number of miles of track) and exceeded that by 2,000 by the end of 2013.

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