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.
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.|
|1||4||Tony Stewart||Chevrolet Monte Carlo||90||-|
|2||43||Ron Fellows||Chevrolet Monte Carlo||90||-|
|3||15||Mark Martin||Ford Taurus||90||-|
|4||16||Casey Mears||Dodge Intrepid||90||-|
|5||3||Dale Earnhardt, Jr.||Chevrolet Monte Carlo||90||-|
|6||9||Kevin Harvick||Chevrolet Monte Carlo||90||-|
|7||12||Jeremy Mayfield||Dodge Intrepid||90||-|
|8||29||Ricky Rudd||Ford Taurus||90||-|
|9||5||Matt Kenseth||Ford Taurus||90||-|
|10||7||Kurt Busch||Ford Taurus||90||-|
|11||8||Bobby Labonte||Chevrolet Monte Carlo||90||-|
|12||24||Jeff Burton||Ford Taurus||90||-|
|13||14||Jamie McMurray||Dodge Intrepid||90||-|
|14||11||Kasey Kahne||Dodge Intrepid||90||-|
|15||6||Elliott Sadler||Ford Taurus||90||-|
|16||23||Robby Gordon||Chevrolet Monte Carlo||90||-|
|17||35||Jeff Green||Dodge Intrepid||90||-|
|18||33||Kyle Petty||Dodge Intrepid||90||-|
|19||26||Scott Wimmer||Dodge Intrepid||90||-|
|20||18||Michael Waltrip||Chevrolet Monte Carlo||90||-|
|21||2||Jeff Gordon||Chevrolet Monte Carlo||90||-|
|22||25||Joe Nemechek||Chevrolet Monte Carlo||90||-|
|23||31||Scott Riggs||Chevrolet Monte Carlo||90||-|
|24||27||Dave Blaney||Chevrolet Monte Carlo||90||-|
|25||17||Rusty Wallace||Dodge Intrepid||89||-|
|26||10||Ryan Newman||Dodge Intrepid||89||-|
|27||13||Dale Jarrett||Ford Taurus||89||-|
|28||32||Ken Schrader||Dodge Intrepid||89||-|
|29||37||Tom Hubert||Ford Taurus||89||-|
|30||22||Brian Vickers||Chevrolet Monte Carlo||89||-|
|31||42||Tony Ave||Chevrolet Monte Carlo||84||-|
|32||34||Ricky Craven||Chevrolet Monte Carlo||83||Transmission|
|33||41||Hermie Sadler||Chevrolet Monte Carlo||79||Too Slow|
|34||30||Brendan Gaughan||Dodge Intrepid||74||Transmission|
|35||21||Greg Biffle||Ford Taurus||71||Engine|
|36||19||Sterling Marlin||Dodge Intrepid||50||Accident|
|37||28||Ward Burton||Chevrolet Monte Carlo||47||Engine|
|38||40||Morgan Shepherd||Dodge Intrepid||42||Differential|
|39||20||Terry Labonte||Chevrolet Monte Carlo||36||Engine|
|40||1||Jimmie Johnson||Chevrolet Monte Carlo||23||Engine|
|41||36||Todd Bodine||Dodge Intrepid||7||Brakes|
|42||38||Jimmy Spencer||Chevrolet Monte Carlo||2||Engine|
|43||39||Larry Gunselman||Ford Taurus||2||Transmission|
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