Bill Elliott comes up short in attempt to pin the needle at 'Dega

Even though he's no longer a consistently viable Sprint Cup competitor, Bill Elliott can still drive like he stole something, and if there aren't any other cars on the track, hey, so much the better. Such was the thinking behind his attempt to break NASCAR's 212-mph qualifying record at Talladega Speedway on Thursday.

(You think we should tell him that the race at 'Dega was actually a few weeks ago? No? Me neither.)

Anyway, Elliott already holds NASCAR's qualifying record of 212 mph, set in 1987. This time around, he was driving a Ford FR500C Mustang modified by Hajek Motorsports' Brent Hajek. It's a car that hit 252 mph at the Bonneville Salt Flats last year, according to reports.

Unfortunately, the weather and the fates conspired against Awesome Bill. It rained most of the morning -- check the photos to see Hajek doing a rain dance or something to ward off the clouds. And then on the second lap of his second run, Elliott's right front tire blew out, ending his day.

The ambulance which took a shaken but unhurt Elliott away did not come anywhere close to 212 mph, unfortunately. But both Hajek and Elliott want to take another shot at the speed mark somewhere down the line.

After the jump, video of Elliott going real, real fast in a shakedown run on Wednesday.

Man, what's he running in that thing? Sounds like a Star Wars ship. Anyway, thanks to Art Tidesco for the link and video.