The 2004 Grand Challenge raced across the Mojave Desert from Barstow, California to Primm, Nevada. 15 finalists qualified to attempt the Grand Challenge. However, the $1 million dollar prize went unclaimed as no vehicles were able to complete the difficult desert route.

The Red Team's race vehicle, Sandstorm, earned the pole position by posting the fastest time on the pre-race qualification course. On race day, Sandstorm sped across unrehearsed terrain at an average speed of 15 mph, reaching peak speeds of over 35 mph. After advancing 7.4 miles - farther than any other team - Sandstorm veered off-course on a hairpin turn and lodged its undercarriage on a steep rocky incline, prematurely ending its race to the finish line. Although Sandstorm did not complete the full Grand Challenge course, Red Team's unmatched performance set the bar for this and future robotic competitions.