The 1971 NASCAR Winston Cup Series season began on Sunday February 14 and ended on Sunday November 20. Richard Petty was the champion for this Winston Cup season. After 20 years of being named the NASCAR Grand National Series, R. J. Reynolds first became the primary sponsor in a decade where the growing anti-tobacco movement banned its advertisement on television and motorsports was the ideal place to place their advertisements. Through NASCAR, Winston merchandise was unveiled to live viewers of the races (since they were not allowed to advertise to a televised audience). This kind of merchandise would also be given out at stores that sold cigarettes in subsequent years. Race car drivers were encouraged to smoke cigarettes (when not racing) until the mid-2000s brought in strict drug testing policies in addition to a smoking cessation program by Nicorette, a GlaxoSmithKline brand (Goody's Headache Powders, a long-time NASCAR sponsor, is a GSK brand; as of 2011, GSK sponsors both Martinsville Speedway Sprint Cup races).
This would be the last season without Darrell Waltrip until 2001.
|January 10||Winston Western 500||Riverside International Raceway||Ray Elder||Untelevised|
|February 11||125 Mile Qualifying Races||Daytona International Speedway||Pete Hamilton||ABC|
|February 14||Daytona 500||Richard Petty|
|February 28||Miller High Life 500||Ontario Motor Speedway||A. J. Foyt||Untelevised|
|March 7||Richmond 500||Richmond Fairgrounds Raceway||Richard Petty|
|March 14||Carolina 500||North Carolina Speedway||Richard Petty|
|March 21||Hickory 276||Hickory Motor Speedway||Richard Petty|
|March 28||Southeastern 500||Bristol International Speedway||David Pearson|
|April 4||Atlanta 500||Atlanta International Raceway||A. J. Foyt||ABC|
|April 8||Columbia 200||Columbia Speedway||Richard Petty||Untelevised|
|April 10||Greenville 200||Greenville-Pickens Speedway||Bobby Isaac||ABC|
|April 15||Maryville 200||Smoky Mountain Raceway||Richard Petty||Untelevised|
|April 18||Gwyn Staley 400||North Wilkesboro Speedway||Richard Petty|
|April 25||Virginia 500||Martinsville Speedway||Richard Petty|
|May 2||Rebel 400||Darlington Raceway||Buddy Baker||ABC|
|May 9||Halifax County 100||South Boston Speedway||Benny Parsons||Untelevised|
|May 16||Winston 500||Alabama International Motor Speedway||Donnie Allison||ABC|
|May 21||Asheville 300||New Asheville Speedway||Richard Petty||Untelevised|
|May 23||Kingsport 300||Kingsport Speedway||Bobby Isaac|
|May 30||World 600||Charlotte Motor Speedway||Bobby Allison|
|June 6||Mason-Dixon 500||Dover Downs International Speedway||Bobby Allison|
|June 13||Motor State 400||Michigan International Speedway||Bobby Allison|
|June 20||Golden State 400||Riverside International Raceway||Bobby Allison|
|June 23||Space City 300||Meyer Speedway||Bobby Allison|
|June 26||Pickens 200||Greenville-Pickens Speedway||Richard Petty|
|July 4||Firecracker 400||Daytona International Speedway||Bobby Isaac||ABC|
|July 11||Volunteer 500||Bristol International Speedway||Charlie Glotzbach||Untelevised|
|July 14||Albany-Saratoga 250||Albany-Saratoga Speedway||Richard Petty|
|July 15||Islip 250||Islip Speedway||Richard Petty|
|July 18||Northern 300||Trenton Speedway||Richard Petty|
|July 24||Nashville 420||Nashville Speedway||Richard Petty|
|August 1||Dixie 500||Atlanta International Raceway||Richard Petty|
|August 6||Myers Brothers 250||Bowman Gray Stadium||Richard Petty
|August 8||West Virginia 500||International Raceway Park, Ona, WV||Richard Petty||Untelevised|
|August 15||Yankee 400||Michigan International Speedway||Bobby Allison|
|August 22||Talladega 500||Alabama International Motor Speedway||Bobby Allison|
|August 27||Sandlapper 200||Columbia Speedway||Richard Petty|
|August 28||Buddy Shuman 276||Hickory Motor Speedway||Elmo Langley|
|September 6||Southern 500||Darlington Raceway||Bobby Allison||ABC|
|September 26||Old Dominion 500||Martinsville Speedway||Bobby Isaac||Untelevised|
|October 10||National 500||Charlotte Motor Speedway||Bobby Allison||ABC|
|October 17||Delaware 500||Dover Downs International Speedway||Richard Petty||Untelevised|
|October 24||American 500||North Carolina Speedway||Richard Petty|
|November 7||Georgia 500||Middle Georgia Raceway||Bobby Allison|
|November 14||Capital City 500||Richmond Fairgrounds Raceway||Richard Petty|
|November 21||Wilkes 400||North Wilkesboro Speedway||Charlie Glotzbach|
|December 12||Texas 500||Texas World Speedway||Richard Petty|
Note: Some races were combined races for Grand American and Grand National cars. Races marked Combined Races were won by Grand American cars. The driver who finished first among Grand National cars is listed.
The 1971 Motor Trend 500 was the first official race in NASCAR's Winston Cup era. Drivers had to contend with 191 laps on a 2.620 mile road course at Riverside International Raceway in Riverside, California. Ray Elder won the race.
Top Ten Results
The Greenville 200 was the first live flag-to-flag telecast of a NASCAR race. The race was run on Saturday, April 10 at Greenville-Pickens Speedway and was carried live on ABC with Jim McKay, Chris Economaki and Ken Squier. Bobby Isaac won the race.
The 1971 Myers Brothers 250 was a NASCAR Winston Cup Series event that took place on August 6, 1971, at Bowman Gray Stadium in the American community of Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Due to the reduced sponsorship money being given out by the "Big Three" automobile companies in Detroit, NASCAR decided to hold six of their smaller Winston Cup Series races in conjunction with the "minor league" NASCAR Grand American Series.
As Bobby Allison was not racing in a Grand National car, he never received credit in that series, but was credited with a Grand American Series ("pony" cars) win. Richard Petty, who finished second in a Grand National car, was never given credit for the class win. Under current rules used in various combination races among cars in NASCAR series, Petty would be credited with a series win.