Finishing second is never fun.
But when it's in a race with the prestige and notoriety of the Brickyard 400, it just plain stinks.
That's the most accurate summation of Joey Logano's emotions after coming home runner-up to Kyle Busch on Sunday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Logano, who won this year's Daytona 500 and was looking to make it a clean sweep of the sport's two biggest races, started alongside leader Busch on a green-white-checkered restart and made a serious run at the bumper of the No. 18 Toyota in the final two laps, but ultimately didn't have enough.
And, yes, finishing second hurt more than it usually does.
"You come to Indy, it's all about the win. Either win or finish last," Logano said. "It doesn't really matter anywhere in between. At least that's the way I race when we come to a racetrack like this, Daytona and Indy. It's all about getting trophies and rings and making out with bricks. Unfortunately, we came up a little bit short."
Starting the race on the front row alongside pole winner Carl Edwards, Logano led the first 11 laps and went on to lead 28 laps -- second only to reigning Sprint Cup champion Kevin Harvick's 75 laps out front.
In a race influenced significantly by pit strategy, Logano wrestled second place away from Harvick just before the final caution flag waved on Lap 160 for a Trevor Bayne spin in Turn 1.
That move put Logano on the front row for the restart and gave the Team Penske driver one last shot at Busch, but he ultimately wasn't able to deny the Joe Gibbs Racing driver his first Brickyard win and fourth victory in the past five races.
"I'm glad he's back and all (from a foot and leg injury that sidelined Busch for the season's first three months), but geez oh pete," said Logano, laughing. "He didn't have to come back like that. Man, we've been working our guts out all year and he comes right back and is doing it. I know he's been working hard getting his foot back better, and it's impressive what those guys have been doing. That's amazing the run they're on."
Adding to Logano's disappointment was that he desperately wanted to deliver the first Brickyard 400 trophy to his legendary team owner Roger Penske, whose cars have won 15 Indianapolis 500s at the venerable 2.5-mile speedway.
"I was just angry on the radio. He was happy," Logano said of his team owner and boss. "He was saying I did a good job. I know it stinks and a lot of times it's hard to take the high road when it stinks, but Roger is a great leader and he's a great guy to have on your side. I haven't seen him yet, but I'm sure I will when I get out of here."
Logano, well-known for his almost constant wide smile, was still smiling when he completed post-race interviews late Sunday -- even if finishing second hurt a little more than usual.
"Is it the allâtime biggest disappointment of my career? No, it's not that bad," he said. "I can think of a lot worse things that could have happened today.
"I'm still walking, I'm still breathing.That's a lot better than some people are doing. I've got to count my blessings and thank God for that."