Indianapolis 500 2014: Helio Castroneves: '2nd place kind of sucks'

Robert Laberge

Helio Castroneves narrowly missed out on a record-tying fourth Indianapolis 500 victory.

INDIANAPOLIS -- All Helio Castroneves could do was slam his steering wheel in frustration following a runner-up finish in Sunday's Indianapolis 500. He wasn't mad at himself nor was he angry with winner Ryan Hunter-Reay, who overtook Castroneves with a pair of breathtaking passes in the final laps.

No, Castroneves was just mad in general. Understandable, considering the Brazilian was within footsteps of history only to be denied in the second-closest finish in the 98-year history of the Indy 500 -- 0.0600 seconds.

"Congrats to Ryan Hunter-Reay, great race," Castroneves said. "He did everything he could. I did everything I could obviously to try to stop him. Definitely unbelievable."

Helio Castroneves speaks with reporters after the Indy 500/Photo credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Having already won the 500 on three occasions, Castroneves' place in the Indy record book is more than secure. But a fourth victory -- one he nearly had Sunday -- would have put him in rarefied company. A win and Castroneves would have joined A.J. Foyt, Al Unser Sr. and Rick Mears as the only drivers to hold the Borg-Warner Trophy four times.

Instead, the quest will continue another year for Castroneves, who last won the Indy 500 in 2009, and before that in 2001 and 2002.

"I tried man, trust me," Castroneves said. "I really tried. You can't question destiny. Today I did everything; my team did everything we possibly could have done to win this race. So close to win four."

When the emotion subsided, Castroneves began replaying those last few frantic laps in his head. But even with some hindsight, there was nothing to regret.

Both he and Hunter-Reay executed some absolutely daring moves as they exchanged the point five times within the final 17 laps -- and even more than that won't be recorded as official. The bravado included Castroneves pulling off a high-side Turn 1 pass. Hunter-Reay did his part by nearly clipping the grass in Turn 3, maintaining control and then sliding by Castroneves into the lead.

"I think both of us used every inch of the track," Castroneves said. "At the end of the day there is stupid and then there's bravery. I think we're right there on the edge, both of us, really trying.

"We were trying to do stuff that normally over 220 mph you don't do it. It was a great testament that the car was able to hold on in those type of circumstances. It was a great show. I thought it was awesome."

But no matter how valiant the effort, losing at Indy stings.

"It hurts a little bit more than the others because it's such a big race and you want to win as bad as anybody," Castroneves said. "Frustrating to be so close to something that only a few guys did.

"It's interesting when second place kind of sucks."

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