Track: Talladega Superspeedway
Car No: 8
Organization: Dale Earnhardt Inc.
In the third race of the first-ever "Chase" playoff, Dale Jr. took Talladega by storm, gaining maximum points by winning the race and leading the most laps (78). It was his fifth win of the 2004 season and fifth win in 10 starts at Talladega. Starting 10th, Junior lived up to his promise to NASCAR flagman Rodney Wise by taking the lead in only four laps. A two-tire pit stop on lap 144 set the stage for a spirited battle for the lead with Jeff Gordon and Kurt Busch. An untimely caution on lap 178 while the Bud car was on pit road forced Junior to restart 11th with four laps to go, but it took him only two laps to regain the lead and secure the win. As equally impressive as the win, Earnhardt Jr. continued a string of finishing first or second in the previous seven Talladega races.