2004 Pepsi 400

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2004 Pepsi 400
Race details
Race 17 of 36 in the 2004 NASCAR Nextel Cup Series
Map of the track
Map of the track
Date July 3, 2004 (2004-07-03)
Location Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida
Course Permanent racing facility
2.5 mi (4.02 km)
Distance 160 laps, 400 mi (643.27 km)
Weather Temperatures reaching as low as 70 °F (21 °C); wind speeds up to 16.9 miles per hour (27.2 km/h)[1]
Average speed 145.117 miles per hour (233.543 km/h)[2]
Pole position
Driver Hendrick Motorsports
Most laps led
Driver Jeff Gordon Hendrick Motorsports
Laps 61
No. 24 Jeff Gordon Hendrick Motorsports
Television in the United States
Network Fox Broadcasting Company
Nielsen Ratings 5.2[3]

The 2004 Pepsi 400 was the 17th race of the 2004 NASCAR Nextel Cup Series season. It was held on July 3, 2004 at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida. Jeff Gordon of Hendrick Motorsports[4] won the race from the pole position and also led the most laps.


The race was delayed for two hours due to rain. Former Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Byron Leftwich was the grand marshal for the race; NBA All-Star Tracy McGrady was originally the grand marshal but was replaced by Leftwich due to scheduling conflicts.[5]

Ten laps into the race, Michael Waltrip passed pole-sitter, Jeff Gordon, for the lead. On Lap 19, the caution flag was thrown after a multi-car accident. Waltrip continued leading until Lap 55, in which Dale Earnhardt Incorporated teammate Dale Earnhardt Jr. After Bobby Hamilton Jr. had an accident on Lap 70, Earnhardt led the race into pit road, but was pushed out by Gordon and Brian Vickers, and fell to fifteenth, giving Mike Wallace the lead entering Lap 74. Shepherd pitted on the following lap, and Morgan Shepherd took the lead. However, Shepherd would later pit, as Gordon regained the lead. Waltrip then retook the lead from Gordon on Lap 86, though Gordon then took the lead again 13 laps later. Ten laps later, Gordon pitted, and Waltrip was given the lead. On the ensuing lap, Earnhardt took the lead, though he later pitted, and Jimmy Spencer gained the lead. On Lap 113, Spencer lost the lead to Gordon when he pitted, who led the pit stops on Lap 139. Dave Blaney stayed out, and took the lead, though Ryan Newman gained first-place when Blaney went to pit road. Newman pitted on Lap 143, giving Tony Stewart the lead.[6] With ten laps left in the race, Hendrick Motorsports teammates Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson followed in third and fourth, respectively, behind Tony Stewart and Dale Earnhardt Jr. Johnson then pushed Gordon past Stewart and Earnhardt, and Gordon subsequently won, his fourth of the season and second consecutive. The victory by Gordon made him the first driver since Cale Yarborough to win the Pepsi 400 from the pole.[7] A version of the race's waning moments was included in the prologue of the video game NASCAR 06: Total Team Control, which involved Johnson pushing Gordon past Earnhardt.[8]

Notably, Pepsi's rival Coca-Cola heavily promoted their new brand Coca-Cola C2 throughout the pre-race activities, and sponsored eight cars: the #1 driven by John Andretti, the #16 driven by Greg Biffle, the #20 driven by Tony Stewart, the #21 driven by Ricky Rudd, the #29 driven by Kevin Harvick, the #97 driven by Kurt Busch, the #98 driven by Bill Elliott, and the #99 driven by Jeff Burton.[9] Ironically, despite this act of "ambush marketing", the Pepsi-sponsored Gordon won the race.

Race results[edit]


Did not qualify

Standings after the race[edit]

Pos Driver Points[10]
1 Jimmie Johnson 2545
2 Dale Earnhardt Jr. 2518
3 Jeff Gordon 2313
4 Tony Stewart 2203
5 Matt Kenseth 2189


  1. ^ "Weather of the 2004 Pepsi 400". The Old Farmers' Almanac. Archived from the original on August 11, 2014. Retrieved August 5, 2014.
  2. ^ "NASCAR - Sprint Cup - Coke Zero 400 Preview". The Sports Network. Archived from the original on 2015-04-24. Retrieved 2013-01-06.
  3. ^ "TV RATINGS 2004". Jayski's Silly Season Site. Archived from the original on 2014-02-13. Retrieved 2013-12-27.
  4. ^ "Special Paint Schemes". Jeff Gordon Online. Retrieved 2013-01-06.
  5. ^ "Pepsi 400". Jayski's Silly Season Site. Archived from the original on 2012-10-09. Retrieved 2013-01-06.
  6. ^ "Lap by Lap: Pepsi 400". NASCAR. 2004-07-05. Retrieved 2013-01-06.[permanent dead link]
  7. ^ Rodman, Dave (2004-07-05). "Pepsi 400 a total team effort for Hendrick". NASCAR. Archived from the original on 2004-08-03. Retrieved 2013-01-06.
  8. ^ Sulic, Ivan (2005-09-01). "NASCAR 06: Total Team Control". IGN. Retrieved 2013-01-06.
  9. ^ "Ambush! Coca-Cola Picks Pepsi's Showcase Race To Promote C2". www.sportsbusinessjournal.com.
  10. ^ a b "2004 Pepsi 400". Racing-Reference. Retrieved 2013-01-06.

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2004 Dodge/Save Mart 350
Nextel Cup Series
2004 season
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2004 Tropicana 400