#14 Southern 500
Southern 500 – Darlington Raceway – 9/1/1985 – “Million Dollar Bill”
Bill Elliott and the Coors – Melling racing team rolled into Darlington having won 2 of the “Big Four in NASCAR”, looking for the win and the Million Dollar Prize. 1985 was the first year NASCAR and R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company offered a Million Dollars for any driver who could win 3 out of 4 races of the “Big Four” in NASCAR. The “Big Four” consisted of the Daytona 500, the Talladega 500, the Coca Cola 600, and the Darlington 500. Elliott had already won the Daytona 500 and Talladega 500 but had brake problems at Charlotte finishing 18th after leading 81 laps. The media pressure was unprecedented at the Charlotte 600 and continued to mount as the year went on. The media attention had grown to the point that Darlington Raceway had to assign Highway Patrol officers just to keep the press out of Elliott’s garage area so that Elliott could have time to work on the car without the “Media Circus” hounding him constantly. Elliott was not very comfortable with the press attention at this time, and with the “Winston Million” on the line at Darlington it was really adding pressure to Elliott and the team. But once Elliott was in the car he was away from the outside pressures of the “Winston Million” and it was business as usual.