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Kyle Larson gets ‘quiet top five’ in playoff opener (video)

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Tales of the Turtles 400

JOLIET, IL - SEPTEMBER 17: Kyle Larson, driver of the #42 Target Chevrolet, pits during the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Tales of the Turtles 400 at Chicagoland Speedway on September 17, 2017 in Joliet, Illinois. (Photo by Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images)

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Kyle Larson’s 2017 playoff experience is already better than last year’s, when Larson didn’t even feel like he was a part of the postseason.

Last season, a cut tire in the playoff opener at Chicagoland Speedway relegated Larson to a 18th-place finish. Two races later he was eliminated from the playoffs.

But Sunday, Larson took heart in a “quiet top five” after Larson finished fifth. It is his 12th top five of the year.

“We weren’t very good in the beginning,” Larson told NBCN. “Just didn’t have the balance that I needed or really what I had in practice. Still a solid day for us to get some stage points and then finish top five heading into Loudon. Get some more solid finishes and advance to the next round, we should be OK.”

The top five comes after Larson closed out the regular season with a win at Richmond Raceway. He entered the playoffs seeded second to Martin Truex Jr. Larson earned 10 stage points by finishing eighth in Stage 1 and fourth in Stage 2.

“I’m excited,” Larson said. “These tracks are some really good tracks for us in the playoffs. Obviously, the 78 (Truex) is really good. He could probably win nine out of 10, but if we get to Homestead we’ll have a shot.”

Watch the video for the full interview.