Tony Stewart and Kurt Busch on the impact of a Daytona 500 victory for an organization

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Tony Stewart and Kurt Busch look back at how their win at the 2017 Daytona 500 changed the organization.

- So a number of Ford drivers are going to be joining us over the next hour, including all four of the drivers from Stewart-Haas Racing. And it's crazy to think that it was a year ago that we talked to those drivers about what they thought it was going to be like to make the move over to Ford from Chevy. And of course, the relationship with Stewart-Haas racing and Ford started the best way possible, with a victory in the sport's biggest race.

ANNOUNCER 1: Here comes the 41 now with the big run.

ANNOUNCER 2: Oh, the race is on now, boys. It's anybody's race now.

ANNOUNCER 1: When I think of experience and knowledge here at Daytona, I think of Kurt Busch.

ANNOUNCER 2: Looks like he's going to come home a winner.

ANNOUNCER 3: Kurt Busch wins the Daytona 500.


ANNOUNCER 2: Wow. First time he's won the 500. What about that?

- All right, so we're going to dig a little bit deeper. We're here with Kurt Busch, Tony Stewart. And obviously, the celebration from Tony Gibson after the burn outs and everything in Victory Lane. That was great, Kurt. But, I mean, old man up on the box. That was pretty awesome.

- His wife told him he turned into a meme, a GIF. Like literally, there is this video now permanently--

- Immediately.

KURT BUSCH: --in Internet space that there's Tony Gibson. He's now that guy that's leaning back. And, I mean, I thought he was going to break the chair. It was great.

- His true, raw emotion. That was insane.

- It was great. You know, this is a race that can define a driver's career. Obviously, you've had success outside of the Daytona 500. But how did that victory and having that win on your resume, how did it change things for you?

- Just the whole teamwork aspect of what we went through in the off-season, getting with Ford, Doug Yates, and re-switching all the cars over. And you said it in the media center afterwards, it's like, man, this is one of the proudest moments for Stewart-Haas racing. And I felt that. Like, that was a gift I was able to help bring to Stewart-Haas. And it's like winning a championship in the 10-day run when you go down to Daytona.

- What was it like on the owner's side, to see Kurt win that race for the first time and get to celebrate in Victory Lap, Daytona?

- It was unreal, especially with everything that happened for the organization that day. I started on the 14 box, then went to the four box. And by the end of it, the last car we have left, the last bullet we've got is Kurt. And Kurt's car is dinged up. But dinged up, I mean, if there's any guy that you want that doesn't have a perfect car that you know can still get the job done, this is the guy you want with that.

So finishes it off. I think Gibson is having a heart attack on the pit box when he's celebrating, but it was a huge moment. I mean, obviously when we made the switch, there were a lot of fans that were fans of Stewart-Haas racing that were so upset that we switched manufacturers. Then there were new fans that were excited that we're Ford fans.

And a lot of people said we were crazy for making that switch. And to go out in our first race and win the biggest race of the season with Ford was a huge accomplishment for the organization, especially for everybody at the shop. With all the change that it took to take all these cars, cut all the bodies off, new bodies, and get to the wind tunnel, get them ready to go to Daytona. It was a huge accomplishment for our organization.

- Yeah, it was big for me too, because I picked Kurt to win the Daytona 500 last year. And I was able to ride that for awhile.

- Yeah. Well, you still are, evidently.

- Well, old man not on top of that pit box this season. So making the crew chief change for you, how challenging is that for a driver?

- It's something you have to embrace. The newness with new guys, new engineers that we'll be working with me, and all the mechanics. But it's tough, because I had a great group with Tony Gibson and all of his veteran guys. I loved working with those guys. And so new crew chief teaches you new things. And I have to teach Billy new things. And that refreshed feel and that vibe around the 41 car is important, and we're going to hit the ground running strong, because I told Billy, I go, you can get through these first five races and build up that points base. That's going to help carry us all the way through the season.