Things were looking pretty bleak for Bobby Hillin Jr. until Tuesday.

The 26-year-old Texan began driving Winston Cup stock cars in 1982 and has been a regular since 1985, but he lost his ride with the Stavola Brothers at the end of last season and was on the outside looking in when practice began for Sunday's Daytona 500.Then came a call from team owner Dick Moroso.

Hillin jumped into a second Moroso Oldsmobile on Tuesday and put it solidly into the lineup for the first of the Twin 125-mile qualifying races here Thursday.

His qualifying lap of 192.160 mph was 28th overall among the 58 drivers who completed laps during the three days of time trials but fast enough to lead the third and final round of the time trials.

"That was all she had, but I've only driven the car about three laps," Hillin said. "We did awfully well under the circumstances. The guys on the crew are working their tails off to do two cars and we're just playing the week one step at a time.

"I wasn't expecting even to have a ride, even though I'd helped the team test in December. I feel really good about what's happened. Maybe we can work together and get a sponsor. That really would be nice," added Hillin, who finished sixth in last year's Daytona 500.