Bill Elliott was left to count his blessings after the Gatorade Duel after failing to make it to the finish of the opening race at Daytona.

Elliott had been impressive in both practice and qualifying and was able to secure his place in the field on speed with the fifth quickest time.

The Daytona qualifying lap record holder ran near the front of the field in the first Duel race before his event came to an end in bizarre fashion when the transmission locked up on the #21 Motorcraft Ford during a caution period, putting him into the wall and out of the race.

"The transmission broke," he said. "It just hung in one gear. I tried to go to second and it locked it up over there. We got into the wall a little bit but it doesn't look like it hurt the car at all. We'll just try to make the best of it and go from there."

Having already secured his place in the race, Elliott admitted he wasn't too concerned by the retirement, with the positives coming from the speed of the car prior to the incident.

"It was good," he said. "I was very impressed. I think we need to make a few little adjustments and just keep digging on it. It's a good thing it [the transmission issue] happened the way it happened because if not, we'd have been out of the race. We're still in the 500."

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