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Last Updated Wednesday, Jul 20, 2005 5:27 pm, EDT

Race Capsule

Daytona International Speedway
  • What:

    Race 17 of 36 on Sprint Cup circuit

  • Where:

    Daytona International Speedway, Daytona Beach, FL

  • When:

    July 3, 2004 7:50 pm EDT

  • Laps:


  • Track Length:

    2.5 miles

  • Race Length:

    400.00 miles

  • Purse:


Drivers to Watch

Jeff Gordon The four-time series champion ran seventh in Daytona last week after running 30th or worse in five of his previous six starts; climbed back into championship contention at 396 points off the pace set by Hendrick Motorsports teammate Johnson; is second on the circuit with three victories but has not visited victory lane since May 1, when he claimed his second restrictor-place race triumph of the season at Talladega; has not finished in the top five since running second to Biffle at Darlington on May 7; his 72 career victories leave him four shy of tying the late Dale Earnhardt for sixth on the all-time list; was second to Kevin Harvick here in 2002 and fourth in this event each of the last two years.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. Matched his best output of the season with a third in Daytona last week and gained 57 points on the standings leader; was his first top-10 in the last seven races and his first top-five in the last 10; his other third-place finish came in the season-opening Daytona 500; climbed two spots to 16th in the standings after being second at this point last season; has just one top-10 finish in four starts at Chicagoland Speedway - a 10th in 2002; seeking his first victory of 2005 after winning at least twice in each of the previous five seasons, including a career-high six checkered flags last year.
Greg Biffle Saddled with a 36th - his second-worst result of the season - in Daytona last week after crashing hard into Michael Waltrip's disabled Chevrolet on lap 72; entered the race with a 22-point lead atop the standings but fell 73 points behind Jimmie Johnson; three of his seven finishes outside the top 10 this season have come in restrictor-plate races; leads the circuit with five victories this season and has taken six checkered flags dating to last season's finale; his six top-fives are one shy of the circuit lead; qualified fifth but finished 20th in this event last year.
Ryan Newman Climbed a spot to sixth in the standings despite a 14th in last week's Pepsi 400; leads the circuit with five poles but has started outside the top 10 three times in the last four events; has run in the top 10 five times in the last eight events after beginning the season with just three top-10s in the first nine; seeking his first win of the season and has won just twice since leading the circuit with eight checkered flags in 2003; among those victories in 2003 was a 2.633-second triumph over Tony Stewart in this event.
Bobby Labonte Dropped three spots to No. 7 in the standings after finishing 33rd at Sonoma last weekend; it was only the third time in his last nine races he came in after the first 10; has recorded seven top-10s in 23 starts at Daytona, coming in second in both events during the 1998 season; started from the pole in both those races; came in fifth in this race last year.
Tony Stewart The 2002 series champion won last week's Pepsi 400 from the pole for his second straight triumph on the heels of a 29-race victory drought; led 151 laps, breaking the previous 400-mile race record of 142 set by Cale Yarborough in 1968; was his first checkered flag on an oval since winning this event last year; with a runner-up and two victories in the last three races, has vaulted seven spots to third in the standings, 136 points off the pace; is tied for second on the circuit with six top-fives this season; has run in the top three here each of the last three years after posting a 33rd in 2001.
Jimmie Johnson Regained the standings lead from Biffle with a sixth in last week's Pepsi 400; was his circuit-high 12th top-10 of the season and 18th in the last 23 events, dating to last season; also leads the series with seven top-fives, including victories at Las Vegas and Lowe's Motor Speedway; finished fourth here during his rookie season of 2002, third in 2003 and second to Tony Stewart last year; took the checkered flag in a Busch race at Chicago in 2001; has ranked in the standings top 10 for 50 consecutive races.
Jamie McMurray Was runner-up to Stewart in Daytona last week, climbing three spots to a career-high seventh in the standings; matched his best finish of the season as he also was runner-up to Biffle in Texas on April 17; has four top-fives this season after; seeking first win since October 13, 2002, when he took the checkered flag in his second career start; won over $1 million as the perk for finishing last season with the highest ranking among drivers not involved in the inaugural "Chase for the Nextel Cup;" ran eighth as a rookie here in 2003.
Kurt Busch Defending series champion and Biffle's Roush Racing teammate was involved in an early nine-car accident in Daytona last week and finished 37th to equal his second-worst result of the season; had top-10s in each of the first two restrictor-plate races of the season; fell one spot to ninth in the standings, 348 points off the pace; has eight top-10s and five top-fives, including a victory in Phoenix on April 23; qualified second and finished sixth here in 2002 but has been saddled with finishes outside the top 30 in each of the circuit's last two trips to this D-shaped oval.
Matt Kenseth This slumping 2003 series champion has finished 20th or worse three times in the last four races; holds the third spot in the standings, only 20 points ahead of Jeff Gordon; has been ranked among the top 10 for 51 consecutive race weeks dating to last season - the longest active run in the series; has three top-10 finishes at Daytona in nine career starts, including his last two trips.
Elliott Sadler Fell a spot to fourth in the standings following a 21st last week in Daytona; that result matched his worst in the last 10 events; has not run worse than 29th this season but has managed just one top-five - a second from the pole in Bristol three months ago; seeking first victory since a checkered flag at California Speedway on September 5 secured his spot in the inaugural "Chase"; ran 21st in this event last year after running ninth in 2003 for his first top-10 at this track.