2004 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Standings

The first "Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup" produced a thrilling conclusion to the 2004 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup season. Five drivers had a shot to win the title entering the season finale. Kurt Busch claimed top honors by a scant eight points over runner-up Jimmie Johnson. Jeff Gordon placed third, only 16 points behind.

2004 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Champion Kurt Busch
2004 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Champion Kurt Busch

Busch overcame numerous problems on his road to the title. Twice during the final 10-race chase, Busch spun in heavy traffic but escaped unscathed. Constantly battling back from deep in the pack, Busch logged nine top-10 finishes in the final 10 races to win the closest points race in NASCAR history.

Busch was the most consistent driver during the important 10-race "chase," with an average finish position of 8.9. Johnson averaged a 10.2 position. Under the previous points system, Jeff Gordon would have edged teammate Johnson by 47 points. Busch would have placed a distant fourth, 247 points out of first place.

All told, the points lead changed hands eight times among five drivers. See the final lineup with the 2004 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup standings that follow.

2004 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Standings

Rank
Driver
Points
Wins
Earnings
1
Kurt Busch
6,506
3
$9,677,543
2
Jimmie Johnson
6,498
8
8,275,721
3
Jeff Gordon
6,490
5
8,439,382
4
Mark Martin
6,399
1
5,479,004
5
Dale Earnhardt, Jr.
6,368
6
8,913,510
6
Tony Stewart
6,326
2
7,830,807
7
Ryan Newman
6,180
2
6,354,256
8
Matt Kenseth
6,069
2
7,405,309
9
Elliott Sadler
6,024
2
6,244,954
10
Jeremy Mayfield
6,000
1
4,919,342
11
Jamie McMurray
4,597
0
4,676,311
12
Bobby Labonte
4,277
0
5,201,397
13
Kasey Kahne
4,274
0
5,415,611
14
Kevin Harvick
4,228
0
5,321,337
15
Dale Jarrett
4,214
0
5,097,396
16
Rusty Wallace
3,960
1
4,981,100
17
Greg Biffle
3,902
2
4,092,877
18
Jeff Burton
3,902
0
4,054,310
19
Joe Nemechek
3,878
1
4,345,554
20
Michael Waltrip
3,878 0
4,694,564
21
Sterling Marlin
3,857
0
4,457,443
22
Casey Mears
3,690
0
3,462,623
23
Robby Gordon
3,646
0
4,225,719
24
Ricky Rudd
3,615
0
3,905,141
25
Brian Vickers
3,521
0
3,135,886
26
Terry Labonte
3,519
0
3,745,242
27
Scott Wimmer
3,198
0
3,675,879
28
Brendan Gaughan
3,165
0
2,929,396
29
Scott Riggs
3,090
0
3,443,345
30
Jeff Green
3,054
0
3,483,436
31
Ken Schrader
3,032
0
2,666,592
32
Ward Burton
2,929
0
2,471,941
33
Kyle Petty
2,811
0
2,780,131
34
Ricky Craven
2,086
0
2,337,417
35
Jimmy Spencer
1,969
0
1,985,121
36
Johnny Sauter
1,430
0
1,333,521
37
Carl Edwards
1,424
0
1,410,571
38
Dave Blaney
1,347
0
1,461,638
39
Bobby Hamilton, Jr.
1,271
0
1,259,213
40
Derrike Cope
1,058
0
1,349,621
41
Todd Bodine
986
0
1,275,532
42
Morgan Shepherd
925
0
1,133,618
43
Kevin Lepage
915
0
1,217,519
44
Hermie Sadler
852
0
945,459
45
John Andretti
818
0
752,386
46
Mike Wallace
764
0
624,850
47
Kirk Shelmerdine
723
0
1,095,040
48
Bill Elliott
595
0
567,900
49
Mike Bliss
407
0
284,405
50
Kenny Wallace
365
0
366,155

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