2004 Subway 500

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2004 Subway 500
Race details
Race 32 of 36 in the 2004 NASCAR Nextel Cup Series
A map showing the layout of Martinsville Speedway
A map showing the layout of Martinsville Speedway
Date October 24, 2004 (2004-10-24)
Location Martinsville Speedway, Martinsville, Virginia
Course Permanent racing facility
.526 mi (.827 km)
Distance 500 laps, 263 mi (423.257 km)
Weather Temperatures up to 60.8 °F (16.0 °C); wind speeds up to 4.1 miles per hour (6.6 km/h)[1]
Average speed 66.103 mph (106.382 km/h)
Pole position
Driver Penske-Jasper Racing
Most laps led
Driver Kurt Busch Roush Racing
Laps 120
No. 48 Jimmie Johnson Hendrick Motorsports
Television in the United States
Network NBC
Announcers Allen Bestwick, Benny Parsons, Wally Dallenbach, Jr.
Nielsen Ratings 4.4/10[2]

The 2004 Subway 500 was a NASCAR Nextel Cup Series stock car race held on October 24, 2004 at Martinsville Speedway in Martinsville, Virginia. Contested over 500 laps, the race was the 32nd of the 36-race 2004 NASCAR Nextel Cup Series season, and the sixth race in the 2004 Chase for the Nextel Cup.

Pole position was won by Penske-Jasper Racing's Ryan Newman, while Jimmie Johnson of Hendrick Motorsports won the race. Chip Ganassi Racing's Jamie McMurray and Newman finished second and third, respectively.


Martinsville Speedway, considered the "Paperclip" for its paper clip shape, is the shortest track on the Cup circuit at only 0.526 miles (0.847 km) long.[3] The track's banking is 12 degrees, while the straightaways were flat.[4]

Entering the race, Kurt Busch led the points standings with 5850 points. Dale Earnhardt, Jr. (5826), Jeff Gordon (5776), Elliott Sadler (5693), and Mark Martin (5664) comprised the top five, while Tony Stewart (5646), Matt Kenseth (5635), Jimmie Johnson (5623), Ryan Newman (5579), and Jeremy Mayfield (5501) rounded out the Chase field.[5]

Hendrick Motorsports plane crash[edit]

Before the race, a Beechcraft Super King Air carrying ten people, seven of whom were Hendrick Motorsports personnel, including John Hendrick, Rick Hendrick's brother, and his two daughters Kimberly and Jennifer; Ricky Hendrick, Rick's son and former driver; Jeff Turner, Hendrick Motorsports' general manager;[6] Randy Dorton, Hendrick's Director of Engine Operations;[7] Joe Jackson, an executive for Jeff Gordon's sponsor DuPont; along with Scott Lathram, a pilot for Tony Stewart, and pilots Richard Tracy and Elizabeth Morrison,[6] crashed into nearby Bull Mountain, killing all on board.[8] The crash occurred 27 minutes before the race began.[9]


51 cars entered the race, ten of whom had attempted less than 20 races in 2004: Ryan McGlynn (#00), Greg Sacks (#13), Kevin Lepage (#37), Carl Long (#46), Tony Raines (#51), Klaus Graf (#59), Mike Garvey (#75), Mario Gosselin (#80), Brad Teague (#94), and Chad Chaffin (#98).[10] Travis Kvapil (#06) was later added to the list,[4] while Raines was removed.[10]

Qualifying was held on October 22, and was postponed by 30 minutes due to rain. Ricky Rudd led the Friday practice with a lap speed of 96.293 mph (154.969 km/h), faster than the previous track record.[4]

In qualifying, Ryan Newman won the pole with a lap time of 19.513 seconds and a speed of 97.043 mph (156.176 km/h), more than 3/10th's faster than the previous record[4] of 95.371 mph (153.485 km/h) set by Tony Stewart in 2000.[11] for his 25th career pole.[4] Newman's teammate Rusty Wallace qualified second with a lap speed of 96.234 mph (154.874 km/h), followed by Dale Earnhardt, Jr. (96.205 mph (154.827 km/h)), Ward Burton (96.107 mph (154.669 km/h)), Kvapil (96.102 mph (154.661 km/h)), Scott Riggs (96.063 mph (154.598 km/h)), Kurt Busch (96.039 mph (154.560 km/h)), Jamie McMurray (96.039 mph (154.560 km/h)), Rudd (95.772 mph (154.130 km/h)), and Jeff Green (95.743 mph (154.083 km/h)) rounded out the top ten. The top 17 drivers broke the previous record. Jimmy Spencer (92.124 mph (148.259 km/h)), Todd Bodine (92.769 mph (149.297 km/h)), Kirk Shelmerdine (87.968 mph (141.571 km/h)), Gosselin (92.710 mph (149.202 km/h)), and Lepage (92.556 mph (148.954 km/h)) were forced to use provisionals. Graf (93.687 mph (150.775 km/h)), Garvey (93.478 mph (150.438 km/h)), Morgan Shepherd (92.159 mph (148.316 km/h)), McGlynn (91.624 mph (147.455 km/h)), Sacks (91.416 mph (147.120 km/h)), and Teague (90.503 mph (145.650 km/h)) failed to qualify. Long withdrew from qualifying and did not set a time.[11] Lepage and Shelmerdine were forced to move to the rear of the field for engine changes.[12]


Ryan Newman led the first nine laps of the race, with Rusty Wallace claiming the lead on lap 10, leading for 33 laps. Terry Labonte then led the next eight laps, with Kasey Kahne leading for 17 laps before Labonte took the lead back. Tony Stewart took the lead on lap 90, losing it on lap 108 to Kurt Busch, who led for only the lap before Sterling Marlin took over, leading until Busch reclaimed it on lap 131. Busch would lead for 54 laps, with Matt Kenseth briefly leading for a lap before Busch led the longest streak with 64 laps. Kevin Harvick, Wallace, and Kenseth would split the lead for the next 45 laps, Harvick leading 43 of them, followed by leading another 61 after taking the lead back from Kenseth on lap 295. After Busch led lap 356, Jamie McMurray took the lead, leading for 20 laps until Jeff Gordon led for six laps from lap 377 to 382 before McMurray reclaimed it. Jimmie Johnson then led his first laps of the race on lap 405, relinquishing it on lap 410. McMurray (1) and Marlin (29) led the next 30 laps until Johnson took the lead on lap 440, leading for the remainder of the race. McMurray, Newman, Marlin, and Busch finished in the top five, while the top ten consisted of Jeremy Mayfield, Jeff Green, Harvick, Jeff Gordon, and Rusty Wallace.[12]

17 cautions occurred during the race. The first was on lap 4, when Joe Nemechek and Todd Bodine crashed in turn 2. On lap 14, Brendan Gaughan, Marlin, and Mayfield were involved in an accident in turn 4, with Jimmy Spencer becoming the beneficiary and gain back a lap. On lap 21, Rudd spun out in turn 2, allowing Shelmerdine to gain back a spot. On lap 66, Robby Gordon crashed in turn 4, allowing Mario Gosselin to be the beneficiary. On lap 77, Rudd and Robby Gordon crashed in turn 4, Shelmerdine gaining another lap back. On lap 107, Dale Jarrett, Casey Mears, Bobby Hamilton, Jr., and Kirk Shelmerdine crashed in turn 3, allowing Robby Gordon to regain a lap. On lap 184, Kyle Petty spun in turn 2, permitting Nemechek to gain back a lap. On lap 292, Carl Edwards spun in turn 2, with Jeff Gordon being the beneficiary. The first caution for debris was flown on lap 322, with Robby Gordon becoming the beneficiary. Bobby Labonte, Jeff Green, and Ken Schrader crashed in turn 4 on lap 355, Rudd winning a lap back. Ward Burton spun in turn 2 on lap 372, though there was no beneficiary. On lap 410, Jarrett spun out in turn 3, with Petty gaining a lap back. The second debris caution flew on lap 418, Travis Kvapil being the beneficiary. On lap 451, Elliott Sadler spun out in turn 4, Burton gaining back a lap. Dale Earnhardt, Jr. and Petty crashed in turn 2 on lap 468, with Sadler getting a lap back. However, on lap 477, Sadler would be involved in a crash in turn 2 with Nemechek, allowing Scott Riggs to gain back a lap. The final caution occurred on lap 490, with Edwards and Robby Gordon crashing in turn 3, with Kvapil being the beneficiary again.[12]

Due to the Hendrick Motorsports plane crash, victory lane celebrations were not held,[13] and the grandfather clock often given to the race winner was delivered after the season ended.[14]

Standings after the race[edit]

Kurt Busch (pictured in 2015) led the Chase standings after the race.

Source: [12]

Pos Driver Points
1 Kurt Busch 6015
2 Jeff Gordon 5919
3 Dale Earnhardt, Jr. 5890
4 Jimmie Johnson 5808
5 Mark Martin 5791
6 Tony Stewart 5769
7 Elliott Sadler 5760
8 Matt Kenseth 5755
9 Ryan Newman 5749
10 Jeremy Mayfield 5651


  1. ^ "2004 Subway 500". The Old Farmer's Almanac. Retrieved 2014-10-27.
  2. ^ "TV RATINGS 2004". Jayski's Silly Season Site. Archived from the original on February 13, 2014. Retrieved October 24, 2014.
  3. ^ "ABOUT THE TRACK". Martinsville Speedway. Archived from the original on October 21, 2014. Retrieved October 24, 2014.
  4. ^ a b c d e "THE RACE: Subway 500". Jayski's Silly Season Site. Retrieved October 24, 2014.
  5. ^ "2004 UAW-GM Quality 500". Racing-Reference. Retrieved October 24, 2014.
  6. ^ a b Smith, Marty. "Hendrick stronger 10 years later". ESPN. Retrieved October 23, 2014.
  7. ^ "RANDY DORTON". Hendrick Motorsports. Archived from the original on 2014-10-24. Retrieved October 23, 2014.
  8. ^ Clarke, Liz (October 25, 2004). "Airplane Crash in Va. Kills 10". The Washington Post. Retrieved October 23, 2014.
  9. ^ Pockrass, Bob (May 5, 2011). "Hendrick plane crash lawsuits settled; litigation ends more than six years after deadly crash". Sporting News. Archived from the original on October 25, 2014. Retrieved October 24, 2014.
  10. ^ a b "2004 Martinsville Entry List". Jayski's Silly Season Site. Retrieved October 24, 2014.
  11. ^ a b "JAYSKI's Semi-Live QUALIFYING/GRID page for the Subway 500 at Martinsville Speedway". Jayski's Silly Season Site. Retrieved October 24, 2014.
  12. ^ a b c d "2004 Subway 500". Racing-Reference. Retrieved October 24, 2014.
  13. ^ Kurz Jr., Hank (October 25, 2004). "Tragedy taints triumph Johnson's NASCAR win overshadowed by plane crash". Peninsula Clarion. Archived from the original on November 6, 2014. Retrieved October 24, 2014.
  14. ^ Bernstein, Viv (October 23, 2004). "A Haunting Gray Sky for a Nascar Family". The New York Times. Retrieved October 24, 2014.

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Nextel Cup Series
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2004 Bass Pro Shops MBNA 500