The 2004 NASCAR Cup Series season was the fifth full-time season in Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s career, and it got started in a big way.
President George W. Bush gave the command to start engines and two of the sport’s biggest young stars took it from there.
YOUTUBE: Watch the full replay
Earnhardt Jr. and Tony Stewart dominated most of the day. From the drop of the green, Earnhardt took off. Benny Parsons foreshadowed the outcome from the NBC television booth saying that teams were “concerned if the No. 8 car gets in front, he’s so fast a lot of cars will not be able to pass him.”
RELATED: Dale Jr.’s Daytona 500 history
Only one driver was able to lead more laps than Earnhardt Jr. on this day and that was Stewart. Stewart nearly led half of all the laps in that Daytona 500, but Earnhardt Jr. got by him with 20 laps to go and didn’t give the lead back. He would go on to win the 2004 Daytona 500 in just his fifth start, a feat that took his father 20 years to accomplish.
Earnhardt Jr. would finish his career with two Daytona 500 victories, joining 11 other drivers with multiple wins in NASCAR’s biggest event.