The Winston Million was a now-defunct cash prize award program on the NASCAR Winston Cup series. From 1985-1997, R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, the title sponsor of NASCAR's premier circuit at the time, offered an award of $1 million for any driver who won three of the four crown jewels on the schedule. From 1998-2002, the award program was reorganized into the Winston No-Bull 5, which offered up to five $1 million bonuses during selected races to qualified drivers. As a result of R.J. Reynolds ceasing title sponsorship of NASCAR after 2003, and in the wake of the Ferko lawsuit, the program was discontinued.
The NASCAR Winston Cup (now Sprint Cup) had long since established the four crown jewels of the schedule. Such races were as follows:
- Daytona 500 (known as the richest race on the circuit, held at Daytona International Speedway)
- Winston 500 (known as the fastest race on the circuit, held at Talladega Superspeedway)
- Coca-Cola 600 (known as the longest race on the circuit, held at Charlotte Motor Speedway)
- Southern 500 (known as the oldest superspeedway race on the circuit, held at Darlington Raceway)
No driver had, or since then has, won all four events in the same season. Twice prior to 1985, a driver won three out of the four: Lee Roy Yarbrough (1969) and David Pearson (1976). Starting in 1985, R.J. Reynolds, and brand sponsor Winston, began offering a $1 million bonus for any driver to win three out of the four race in the same season. If there was no million dollar winner, a $100,000 consolation bonus would be given to the first driver to win two of the races.
In the program's first year, Bill Elliott captured the million dollar bonus. The victory thrust him into notoriety. He became known as "Million Dollar Bill," and appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated. The relative ease that Elliott won the bonus led many to believe that the prize would be awarded fairly often in subsequent seasons. This, however, was ultimately deceiving, as the award proved difficult to win, and at times, difficult to even have a candidate in contention to win.
- If a driver went into the Coca-Cola 600 or the Southern 500 with a chance to win the million, the race was advertised as "The Winston Million Running of the Coca-Cola 600/Southern 500"
- In 1989, Darrell Waltrip became the first driver since Elliott in 1985 to have a chance at the million. He, however, was never a factor at Darlington, and settled for the $100,000 consolation
- In 1990, Dale Earnhardt was leading the Daytona 500 on the final lap when he cut a tire and failed to win the race. He went on to win two other legs of the Winston Million, and would have won the million bonus had he held on to win at Daytona.
- In 1992, the Southern 500 was cut short by rain, preventing Davey Allison from a chance to clinch the million. He had been in contention much of the race, and finished 5th.
- From mid-1991 to mid-1992, Davey Allison won three of the four races, but it was accomplished over two seasons. He sat as defending champion of three of the crown jewels at once in a similar fashion to the "Tiger Slam".
- From 1994-1996, the program was advertised as the "Winston Select Million," as R.J. Reynolds chose to promote their 'Select' brand in NASCAR.
- In 1997, Jeff Gordon won 3 out of 4 races to become the second winner of the Winston Million.
- From 1998-2004, even after the entire program was discontinued, no driver again ever managed to win three of the four original crown jewels in the same season. After 2004, the Southern 500 was discontinued, and the four crown jewels are no longer intact.