Martin Truex Jr says coming second in the closest-ever Daytona 500 finish both hurts and leaves him feeling proud.
Denny Hamlin beat Truex over the line by just 0.010 seconds in Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup season-opener.
Earlier in the final lap, Hamlin's Joe Gibbs Racing team-mate Matt Kenseth had slewed wide as he tried to defend his lead, opening the door for Truex's Furniture Row Chevrolet as well.
"You'd rather get beat by a few feet than four inches, absolutely," Truex said.
"At the same time, I felt like Matt Kenseth moving up to block that run gave us an opportunity to win. Without that, we weren't going to have that opportunity.
"If he had blocked him, without a doubt in my mind we would have won that race.
"I feel like we were in really good position just doing what we did. Circumstances didn't work out quite as well as they should have.
"I could have done a little bit different coming to the line. I felt like I should have run Denny up the track a little bit, but I didn't. It is what it is."
Truex compared his defeat to Kevin Harvick beating Mark Martin by 0.02s in the 2007 500, pictured below.
"I'm just going to have to watch that on the highlight reel for the rest of my career," he said.
"I remember when it happened to Mark Martin, poor guy, he's been so close here so many times. The picture of that race is in the tunnel when you come in in Turn 1.
"I have a feeling I'm going to have to see that same thing for a long time.
"It hurts a little bit, but a lot to be proud of."
He said he had no idea whether he or Hamlin had won as they took the flag.
"I knew it was really close but I didn't think either way," Truex said.
"I just said 'damn, that was close.' That was the only thing I could think of.
"I tried to look up at the big screen. My spotter was going absolutely ballistic on the radio screaming. I couldn't tell what the heck was going on.
"When you get in those positions, you don't want to get all jacked up and excited like, 'I got him, I won!' till you actually know. It's a bit of a letdown when you haven't."
Truex's Furniture Row team switched from Chevrolet to Toyota over the winter and now has an affiliation with the Gibbs squad.
"I'm proud of how we worked together with the JGR guys," Truex added.
"That was important for us to kick off the year, try to start to form that relationship, showing those guys they could trust us, that we're going to be a strong part of their team."