Larson says fifth-place finish is "way better than I thought we’d end up"

Kyle Larson doesn’t have much experience at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, but he’s made the most of his limited starts.

Larson says fifth-place finish is "way better than I thought we’d end up"
Jamie McMurray, Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet, Kyle Larson, Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet
Kyle Larson, Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet
Kyle Larson, Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet, pit action
Kyle Larson, Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet
Kyle Larson, Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet
Kyle Larson, Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet, Chase Elliott, Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet

Making just his third Sprint Cup Series career start in the Brickyard 400 on Sunday, Larson finished fifth – his fourth top-five finish in 20 races this season.

He’s now finished seventh, ninth and fifth in at Indy for an impressive average finish of seventh.

The top-five could not have come at a better time for Larson and his No. 42 Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet team as he remains in the hunt for a spot in the 16-driver championship Chase.

“It was a solid weekend for us. I didn’t how we’d be after the first practice on Friday. After the second practice, it got better,” said Larson, who jumped four positions in the series standings to 15th.

“I seem to have struggled in the early part of races this year but we were pretty solid from the beginning and ran top-six or seven most of the time. Still had nothing for the (Joe) Gibbs (Racing) cars, but I’m happy about it.”

Also helpful to Larson was the fact a handful of drivers who were close to him in the series standings before the race, experienced problems or had bad finishes.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. missed his second consecutive race with concussion syndromes and collected no driver points; and Ryan Blaney, Trevor Bayne and Jamie McMurray were involved in late-race wrecks.

“I was definitely paying attention to the guys having trouble and knew I had to be smart. I would have been happy with anywhere in the Top 10,” he said. “Then to go on the restart on the outside in eighth and to get to fifth – that was way better than I thought we’d end up.”

With many horsepower and track similarities to Indianapolis, Larson has a good opportunity to gain even more ground next weekend at Pocono, where he has never finished worse than 12th in five career starts.

“I think we learned some stuff this weekend and last week at the test (at Indy) that we can use at Pocono,” he said. “It should be a good one.”

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