Bill Elliott led both of Saturday's Sprint Cup practice sessions. He had a legitimate shot at the Daytona 500 pole. Three-quarters of the way through his second lap Sunday at Daytona he was on pace for the top spot.

But Elliott's #21 Wood Brothers Ford fell slightly off the pace in the final corner. Although he posted the fastest time among those not already guaranteed a starting spot - fifth fastest overall - and locked himself into the 500 on speed, Elliott nevertheless was rueful about what might have been.

"I have such mixed emotions," the veteran admitted, "This whole Motorcraft team - [crew chief] David Hyder, [owners] Len and Eddie [Wood] - they really put a good plan together to come down here for the 500 this year, and I'm so proud of what they've done.

"I'm disappointed for those guys that we didn't sit on the pole, as good as we ran [Saturday] but, on the flip side, I looked back a year ago when we ended up loading that Motorcraft Ford up and going home. It's such a fine line."

by Reid Spencer
Sporting News NASCAR Wire Service

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