Brian Scott drove last weekend like a man intent on not having his 2013 highlight reel lead off with getting kicked below the belt.
Now he has a brand-new highlight, one that doesn't involve the post-race altercation with Nelson Piquet Jr. on pit road at Richmond in April. Instead, it's one that could lead to bigger things in his pursuit of NASCAR Nationwide Series title contention.
Scott, in his first full season driving the No. 2 Chevrolet for Richard Childress Racing, enjoyed his career-best finish of second place at Indianapolis Motor Speedway last Saturday, a performance he hopes will rekindle the hot start he enjoyed over the season's first three months. Even though the personal best did wonders for his season-long outlook, in the moments after the checkered flag, the near-miss with his first victory -- at a historic venue to boot -- was tough to stomach.
"It's always a terrible feeling when you're leading with five laps to go and you don't win the race," Scott said. "I think any race car driver will tell you that. They always feel like if they could go back, they could do something different to make sure their team got to Victory Lane -- especially here and being so new with the Nationwide Series at Indianapolis, a place with so much history.
"Man, it's great to have a second-place finish, but it's also very ... I don't want to say frustrating. It's frustrating to be so close and not be the one who's kissing the bricks and you have to sit there and watch the other team celebrate, when as a driver, you want more than anything for it to be your team that's enjoying the emotion and the moment."
Scott seemed to emerge from nowhere on a final restart to challenge eventual winner Kyle Busch for the victory, but in reality, his car at Indy showed speed from the outset. He was second-fastest in both practice sessions before the 250-mile race.
So it shouldn't have been a huge surprise that Scott made a late bid on the final restart, slipping past Busch's battle with Joey Logano to the lead in the 95th of 100 laps. Busch's dominant car eventually reeled in Scott's Chevy to lead the final three laps, leaving Scott to settle for a runner-up finish.
Scott remained eighth in the Nationwide points, but his margin from the top of the standings shrank considerably. He enters Saturday night's U.S. Cellular 250 (8 p.m. ET, ESPN2) at Iowa Speedway with a 46-point gap, down from the 65 points he trailed by before Indianapolis.
"I think that this will be a good step to really get our season back on track where we started the year off," Scott said Saturday at the Brickyard. "Really our season, we've had fast race cars. Unfortunately, we've been our own worst enemies and shot ourselves in the foot and been the reason that we've had worse finishes that we were capable of running a lot of times. Today, it couldn't have been any more opposite."
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