2004 NASCAR Nextel Cup Series
The 2004 NASCAR Nextel Cup season began on Saturday, February 7 and ended on Sunday, November 21. Kurt Busch with Roush Racing driving a Ford was the Nextel Cup champion.
This was the first season that NASCAR utilized the Chase for the Nextel Cup format that began with the Sylvania 300 on Sunday, September 19. Under the format rules, the top 10 drivers (and any additional drivers within 400 points of the leader) by the end of the 26th race would be eligible to compete in a final 10-race playoff to determine the NASCAR Nextel Cup champion. Following the 26th race, the eligible drivers would have their points reset to bring the drivers closer together in the standings, with only five points separating each driver. The season would then continue as normal, with the driver with the most points at the end of the season becoming the champion.
The NASCAR Manufacturers' Championship was won by Chevrolet when they captured 26 wins and 266 points. Ford finished in second place with 10 wins, and 224 points, while Dodge followed in third with 4 wins and 194 points.
This was the first year for the new series sponsorship. Mobile phone provider Nextel assumed sponsorship of the NASCAR championship series from cigarette brand Winston.
The season was also marked by tragedy. On October 24, a charter airplane owned by Hendrick Motorsports crashed at Bull Mountain in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, near Martinsville Speedway. Ten people aboard the plane died, including four relatives of team owner Rick Hendrick, as well as Randy Dorton, Hendrick's chief engine builder. Jimmie Johnson, a Hendrick driver, had won the race, but the post-race victory ceremony was cancelled as word spread of the incident.
Read more about 2004 NASCAR Nextel Cup Series: 2004 NASCAR Nextel Cup Series Drivers, Budweiser Shootout, Gatorade Twin 125s, Subway 400, UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400, Golden Corral 500, Carolina Dodge Dealers 400, Food City 500, Samsung/Radio Shack 500, Advance Auto Parts 500, Aaron's 499, Auto Club 500, Chevy American Revolution 400, Coca-Cola 600, MBNA America 400 "A Salute To Heroes", Pocono 500, DHL 400, Dodge/Save Mart 350, Pepsi 400, Tropicana 400, Siemens 300, Pennsylvania 500, Brickyard 400, Sirius At The Glen, GFS Marketplace 400, Sharpie 500, Pop Secret 500, Chevy Rock and Roll 400, Sylvania 300, MBNA America 400, EA Sports 500, Banquet 400 Presented By ConAgra Foods, UAW-GM Quality 500, Subway 500, Bass Pro Shops MBNA 500, Checker Auto Parts 500, Mountain Dew Southern 500, Ford 400, Final Points Standings, Rookie of The Year
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