Bristol Sweep


Dale Jr. entered the fall weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway prepared for double duty, as he was tabbed to drive the No. 81 Menards Chevrolet for DEI in the Food City 250 and the No. 8 Budweiser Chevrolet in the Cup race the following night. Paired up with DEI crew chief Pete Rondeau for the first time, Junior started from the pole in the Friday night race and led 125 laps. The race was prolonged for a green-white-checkered finish, in which Junior mastered perfectly to beat Matt Kenseth to the stripe. It gave Junior two Nationwide Series victories in four races in 2004. The following evening provided even more fireworks. Dale Jr. led a career-high 295 of 500 laps and added "Bristol night race" to his resume. He did it despite qualifying a season-worst 30th. Savvy pit strategy helped him gain track position, and he engaged in an epic battle with Rusty Wallace for the race lead. In third place on a lap 399-restart, the Bud driver needed only 18 laps to pass Jeff Burton and Ryan Newman to regain a lead he would never relinquish.