A plane crash four weeks before the end of the 2004 season killed 10 people, including a handful of Hendrick Motorsports employees and their family members. Two Hendrick Motorsports drivers, Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson, were still in contention for the championship at the time of the crash. Each had an unbelievable late surge, despite overwhelming pressure and grief: Johnson won two races and averaged a finish over the final four races of 2.5. Gordon finished in the top three places in the last three races. Both tried for the championship — which, had they won, would have been the most heartwarming win in NASCAR history — but neither got it. Kurt Busch beat them both.