Rookie driver Larson on fast track to victory lane

04/07/2014 8:24 PM

04/08/2014 12:17 AM

It’s apparent that Kyle Larson’s day is coming sooner rather than later.

Though still seeking his first NASCAR Sprint Cup victory, the rookie turned in his third top-10 finish this season Monday at the Duck Commander 500.

Larson battled hard for fifth at Texas Motor Speedway’s 1.5-mile track, earning his second top-five finish of 2014.

It was a somewhat unexpected turn of good fortune for a guy whose car turned in disappointing practice and qualifying sessions on Friday and Saturday.

“Everybody did a good job making this car competitive,” said Larson, the 2013 Nationwide Series Rookie of the Year who started 14th in his Target Chevrolet. “We were really good today and put ourselves in position to get a good finish.

“On the long runs, I thought we probably had the best car.”

Average, though, on the short runs, he said, a fact that hurt him.

Larson’s second Sprint Cup appearance at TMS was appreciably better than his first in the fall when he started 36th and crossed at 23.

Larson’s standout Nationwide Series rookie campaign featured 17 top-10 finishes, including eight consecutive.

That’s the type of success that’s fun for the 21-year-old Ganassi driver, who’s not growing frustrated by coming so close, yet not close enough.

He left Fort Worth confident that a first win was in sight and that it’ll probably take place at a similar 1.5-mile track.

“I feel like we’ve been a top-10 car most races,” Larson said. “We were good at Bristol, good at Fontana, good here. I think if we keep keeping ourselves in contention, things will work out late in races.

“It could come at a 1.5-mile or a little bigger track. Hopefully that comes soon because there’s a ton on the schedule.”

The 1.366-mile Darlington Raceway in South Carolina on Saturday fits that mold and suits Larson’s style, he said.

There he will also renew his budding rivalry with Kyle Busch.

The two again dueled for part of the day Monday. Those two jockeying for position is becoming a common storyline.

“Seems like it’s the Kyle and Kyle show,” Larson said. “He’s always up front, so whenever I’m with him, I’m having a great day.”

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