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Kyle Larson fifth at Pocono, ties for second-best Sprint Cup finish of season

Jun 8, 2014, 5:54 PM EDT

(Photo: Jerry Markland/Getty Images) Getty Images

Well, color Kyle Larson Target-red, as in blushing and surprised.

The leading candidate for NASCAR Sprint Cup Rookie of the Year somehow turned a marginal car into a near-winner in Sunday’s Pocono 400 at Pocono Raceway.

Instead of where he thought he would wind up at in the 160-lap event, Larson drove both his butt and the tires off his Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet, coming home with a fifth-place finish, tying his second best showing thus far this season.

“Yeah, I’ll take it,” Larson said. “It was a lot better finish than I thought we’d have today.

“After Happy Hour (on Saturday), I thought we’d have a 15th-place car. But I knew from the drop of the green, we had a really good Chevy and throughout the race it got better and better.”

Larson’s finish equaled his fifth-place showing at Texas. His best performance to date in 2014 was runner-up at Fontana in March.

In addition, he remains 10th in the Sprint Cup standings after Sunday’s race.

Overall, it was an excellent weekend performance for Larson, who made his first-ever visit to the 2.5-mile tri-oval.

On Saturday, he won the ARCA 200 race there, and while he wound up short of a weekend sweep on Sunday, Larson put his overall performance in fitting terms:

“Getting a top-five here at the Tricky Triangle and a win yesterday in the ARCA Series — I guess you can’t ask for a much better weekend.”

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