2004 was the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series’ 56th season of professional stock car racing and the 33rd for the modern-era Cup series season. This was the first year that Nextel, a communications company, became the series, title sponsor. From 1971 to 2003, Winston cigarettes provided support to the NASCAR Cup division.

Another significant sponsor change was the official fuel supplier. After 56-years, Unocal was replaced by Sunoco.

The top three American automotive manufacturers were well represented in the 2004 NASCAR Nextel Cup. Popular makes and models included the Chevrolet Monte Carlo, Ford Taurus and Dodge Intrepid.

The 2004 NASCAR Nextel Cup season began on February 15 with the Daytona 500 and ended thirty-five races later on November 21 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The chase for the championship was a ten round shootout start with the Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire International Speedway on September and ending at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

  • February 15 - Daytona International Speedway
  • February 22 - North Carolina Speedway
  • March 7 - Las Vegas Motor Speedway
  • March 14 - Atlanta Motor Speedway
  • March 21 - Darlington Raceway
  • March 28 - Bristol Motor Speedway
  • April 4 - Texas Motor Speedway
  • April 18 - Martinsville Speedway
  • April 25 - Talladega Superspeedway
  • May 2 - California Speedway
  • May 15 - Richmond International Raceway
  • May 22 - Lowe's Motor Speedway
  • June 6 - Dover International Speedway
  • June 13 - Pocono Raceway
  • June 20 - Michigan International Speedway
  • June 27 - Infineon Raceway
  • July 3 - Daytona International Speedway
  • July 11 - Chicagoland Speedway
  • July 25 - New Hampshire International Speedway
  • August 1 - Pocono Raceway
  • August 8 - Indianapolis Motor Speedway
  • August 15 - Watkins Glen International
  • August 22 - Michigan International Speedway
  • August 28 - Bristol Motor Speedway
  • September 5 - California Speedway
  • September 11 - Richmond International Raceway
  • September 19 - New Hampshire International Speedway
  • September 26 - Dover International Speedway
  • October 3 - Talladega Superspeedway
  • October 10 - Kansas Speedway
  • October 16 - Lowe's Motor Speedway
  • October 24 - Martinsville Speedway
  • October 31 - Atlanta Motor Speedway
  • November 7 - Phoenix International Raceway
  • November 14 - Darlington Raceway
  • November 21 - Homestead-Miami Speedway

A new feature that was added to the NASCAR Nextel Cup in 2004 was the Chase for the Championship. After the first twenty-six races of the season, all drivers in the Top 10 and others within 400 points of the leader earn a berth in the Chase. All drivers in the Chase qualify for an opportunity to compete for the NASCAR Nextel Cup title.

The Sirius Satellite Radio at The Glen, held at Watkins International, was the twenty-second round of the 2004 NASCAR Nextel Cup Series season. It was also the fifth race before the cut-off for the Chase for the Championship. Drivers would compete in a ninety-lap contest around the eleven-turn 2.45-mile short course.

Wet conditions prevented qualifying and the starting grid was set by points. As a result, four drivers failed to start the race – Scott Pruett, Boris Said, Klaus Graf and Stanton Barrett.

This weekend, Tony Stewart was pulling double duty – competing in Friday evening’s Grand-Am event, finishing eighth, and the NASCAR Nextel Cup race on Sunday. The No. 20 Home Depot Chevrolet Monte Carlo started in the fourth position. Stewart moved into first place on lap-2. His position changed as drivers cycled through their pit stops. Stewart led the final fifteen circuits to capture his second race of the season.
The No. 1 Nutter Butter / Nilla Wafers Chevrolet Monte Carlo was entered by Dale Earnhardt Inc for Canadian road racing specialist Ron Fellows. Fellows, whose previous record at Watkins Glen International included a Grand National and Truck victory, started the race in forty-third – the final position on the grid. He drove through the field and finished second by a margin of 1.517-seconds.
Series veteran Mark Martin was often in contention during the 2004 season, but was plagued by a string of bad luck. However, he collected a runner-up finish in the Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Raceway. Martin was gridded fifteenth in the No. 6 Ford Taurus entered and prepared by Jack Roush. During the race, he stayed in contention and finished in the third position. The result moved him up two spots closer to making the Chase.
Chip Ganassi entered Dodge Intrepids for Jamie McMurray, Stirling Marlin, Scott Pruett and Casey Mears. With qualifying washed out, Pruett could not start the event and Marlin was involved in an incident that removed him from contention. It would be Mears who delivered the team’s best result. He began in the sixteenth position, driving the No. 41 Target Dodge, and finished fourth for his best result of 2004.
Dale Earnhardt, Jr. entered round twenty-two of the 2004 NASCAR Nextel Cup series third in the standings – 240-points behind the leader, Jimmy Johnson. Driving the No. 8 Budweiser Chevrolet Monte Carlo, Earnhardt was gridded in the third position for the start. A solid performance was rewarded with a fifth-place finish, but more important than that, he solidified his place in the Chase.
The defending NASCAR Nextel Cup champion, Matt Kenseth, entered round twenty-two fifth in the point standings. Kenseth collected wins early in the season at Rockingham Speedway and Las Vegas Motor Speedway. With five races left in the regular season, he was in an excellent position to make the Chase. Kenseth started in the fifth spot driving the No. 17 DeWalt Power Tools Ford Taurus and finished ninth.
Kurt Busch was one of five drivers entered by Jack Roush – the others were Mark Martin, Matt Kenseth, Jeff Burton and Greg Biffle. Busch raced the No. 97 Irwin Industrial Tools / Sharpie Ford Taurus. He was victorious in round six at Bristol Motor Speedway and was seventh in the point standings. At Watkins Glen International, Busch started in the seventh position and led a lap before finishing tenth.
One of the odds on favourites to capture the victory at the Sirius Satellite Radio at The Glen was the defending race winner Robby Gordon. His best result this season was a fourth place at Darlington Raceway. Gordon was gridded twenty-third for the ninety-lap contest in the No. 31 Chevrolet Monte Carlo. He led the race on two occasions for a total of twelve laps, but brake issues resulted in a sixteenth-place finish.
Rick Hendrick entries occupied the first two positions in the championship. On top was Jimmy Johnson driving the No. 48 Lowe’s sponsored Chevrolet Monte Carlo. Johnson started in the top spot, but with little road racing experience, he was not optimistic about finishing in the same position. His goal was to lead lap-1 and collect the five bonus points. Johnson succeeded in leading the first lap, but on lap-23, his engine failed.
Trailing Jimmy Johnson by ninety-seven markers was his teammate Jeff Gordon. The 1995, 1997, 1998 and 2001 NASCAR Cup champion drove the No. 24 Chevrolet Monte Carlo with DuPont support. During the race, Gordon took a turn at the front of the field and led a total of eleven laps. Unfortunately, he was in fourth place with seven laps remaining when he lost all but one gear, causing him to fall to a twenty-first place finish.

14Tony StewartChevrolet Monte Carlo90-
243Ron FellowsChevrolet Monte Carlo90-
315Mark MartinFord Taurus90-
416Casey MearsDodge Intrepid90-
53Dale Earnhardt, Jr.Chevrolet Monte Carlo90-
69Kevin HarvickChevrolet Monte Carlo90-
712Jeremy MayfieldDodge Intrepid90-
829Ricky RuddFord Taurus90-
95Matt KensethFord Taurus90-
107Kurt BuschFord Taurus90-
118Bobby LabonteChevrolet Monte Carlo90-
1224Jeff BurtonFord Taurus90-
1314Jamie McMurrayDodge Intrepid90-
1411Kasey KahneDodge Intrepid90-
156Elliott SadlerFord Taurus90-
1623Robby GordonChevrolet Monte Carlo90-
1735Jeff GreenDodge Intrepid90-
1833Kyle PettyDodge Intrepid90-
1926Scott WimmerDodge Intrepid90-
2018Michael WaltripChevrolet Monte Carlo90-
212Jeff GordonChevrolet Monte Carlo90-
2225Joe NemechekChevrolet Monte Carlo90-
2331Scott RiggsChevrolet Monte Carlo90-
2427Dave BlaneyChevrolet Monte Carlo90-
2517Rusty WallaceDodge Intrepid89-
2610Ryan NewmanDodge Intrepid89-
2713Dale JarrettFord Taurus89-
2832Ken SchraderDodge Intrepid89-
2937Tom HubertFord Taurus89-
3022Brian VickersChevrolet Monte Carlo89-
3142Tony AveChevrolet Monte Carlo84-
3234Ricky CravenChevrolet Monte Carlo83Transmission
3341Hermie SadlerChevrolet Monte Carlo79Too Slow
3430Brendan GaughanDodge Intrepid74Transmission
3521Greg BiffleFord Taurus71Engine
3619Sterling MarlinDodge Intrepid50Accident
3728Ward BurtonChevrolet Monte Carlo47Engine
3840Morgan ShepherdDodge Intrepid42Differential
3920Terry LabonteChevrolet Monte Carlo36Engine
401Jimmie JohnsonChevrolet Monte Carlo23Engine
4136Todd BodineDodge Intrepid7Brakes
4238Jimmy SpencerChevrolet Monte Carlo2Engine
4339Larry GunselmanFord Taurus2Transmission

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