By Zane Miller
On Sunday, November 21st, 2004, the 2004 NASCAR Cup Series season concluded with Kurt Busch defeating Jimmie Johnson by 8 points to win the 56th championship in Cup Series history. It was the first (and, as of this writing, only) Cup Series championship for Busch.
Jeff Gordon claimed the regular season championship, as the top 10 drivers in points after the regular season went into the first ever Chase for the Cup playoffs to determine the overall champion in the final 10 races.
The 2004 Daytona 500 was won by Dale Earnhardt Jr., while Tony Stewart led the most laps with 98.
2004 playoff results
10. #19 Jeremy Mayfield (-506 points)
9. #38 Elliott Sadler (-482)
8. #17 Matt Kenseth (-437)
7. #12 Ryan Newman (-326)
6. #20 Tony Stewart (-180)
5. #8 Dale Earnhardt Jr. (-138)
Earnhardt Jr. claimed fifth in points with six wins, 16 top-fives and 21 top-10s for an average finish of 12.1, while leading the most laps in five starts.
4. #6 Mark Martin (-107)
Martin got fourth as he had one win, 10 top-fives and 15 top-10s for an average finish of 13.8, while leading the most laps in two races.
3. #24 Jeff Gordon (-16)
Gordon earned third in points with five wins, 16 top-fives and 25 top-10s, getting an average finish of 11.4. Gordon also led the most laps in seven races.
2. #48 Jimmie Johnson (-8)
Johnson got the runner-up spot with eight victories, 20 top-fives and 23 top-10s for an average finish of 12.1 while leading the most laps in three races.
1. #97 Kurt Busch
Busch won the championship as he had three wins, 10 top-fives and 21 top-10s, earning an average finish of 12.5 while leading the most laps in four races.
Race Winners (left) & Lap Leaders (right)
Link to stats database: https://www.racing-reference.info/yeardet/2004/W
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