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Erik Jones knows his Michigan history — well, most of it

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Erik Jones is a proud native of Michigan.

During a recent interview with NBC Sports, the 20-year-old from tiny Byron (population 581) was tested on his knowledge of his home state.

To start off with, Jones was asked about how much snowmobiling he does back home.

“Funny part, I never have,” Jones said. “Where I grew up, everybody snowmobiled. Everybody I knows snowmobiles. But we never had snowmobiles.

“There’s not a ton (of snowmobile trails) by me. Honestly, it doesn’t snow enough most of the time. Sometimes it does, but a lot of it’s up north. But if you go up to the U.P. (Michigan’s upper peninsula), you can go up there and there’s tons of trails. I know people that go up there and they’ll ride 150-200 miles a day. I can’t imagine. It’s freezing. It’s like negative 10 degrees out.”

It’s no wonder Jones spent his winter vacation in the balmy Dominican Republic instead of the frozen tundra of northern Michigan.

As the test began, Jones quipped, “I don’t know about the state flower or anything.”

Here’s some of the things he did – and didn’t know.

Q) Which city was Henry Ford born?

Jones: “Was it Flint or Grand Rapids? It might have been up north. I don’t know for sure.”

Answer: Dearborn, Michigan, Ford Motor Company’s headquarters. Said Jones in reply, “Dang it, I was going to say Detroit, which is close.”

Q) On what holiday do the Detroit Lions play on every year?

Jones: “Thanksgiving. That’s easy.”

Answer: Thanksgiving is correct.

Q) Who was the first driver to win a NASCAR race at Michigan International Speedway (in 1969)?

Jones: “That’s a long time ago. I don’t know that era very well. Was it Benny Parsons?”

Answer: Cale Yarborough is the correct answer.

Q) Who was the first NASCAR Premier Series from Michigan?

Jones: “Well, I know the most recent one. Is it Brad (Keselowski)?”

Answer: Keselowski is correct.

Q) What do you think of Mackinac Island?

Jones: “Mackinac? It’s Mackinaw. It’s spelled like Mackinac, but it’s Mackinaw City.”

Answer: Mackinac is the correct spelling, but it’s pronounced Mackinaw.

Q) What sweet treat is Mackinac known for?

Jones: “Fudge. They do have real good fudge, very good.”

Answer: Fudge is correct.

Q) What is the real name of the Detroit rapper who wrote “My Name Is …”?

Jones: “Marshall Mathers (aka Eminem). He’s from Detroit. That’s an easy one. I go by Eight-Mile (Road) all the time when I’m home.”

Answer: Marshall Mathers is correct.

Q) How many NBA titles do the Detroit Pistons have?

Jones: “Maybe four? Is it three? I knew it was three or four. Bad Boys from the late ‘80s. Who hasn’t heard of them? I wasn’t alive for the first two. I remember ’04. That was a good team.”

Answer: Three is correct (1989, 1990 and 2004).

Q) What is the team name for the University of Michigan?

Jones: “Like the Wolverines? Yeah, the Wolverines.”

Answer: Wolverines is correct.

Q) Born in Romeo, Michigan, who is Robert James Ritchie better known as?

Jones: “Oh, Bob Ritchie? Kid Rock? Yeah. Who doesn’t know Bob Ritchie? I never met him but I like his music.”

Answer: Kid Rock is correct.

Q) What band, formed in 1997 in Detroit, wrote “Seven Nation Army?”

Jones: “I never heard of that song. I don’t know that one. I was only one year old then.”

Answer: The White Stripes.

When the impromptu test was over, Jones quipped, “What about a Bob Seeger question or something? He was born in Flint. Or what about Grand Funk Railroad?”

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NASCAR America: Jimmie Johnson’s patience propels him to victory lane in Food City 500

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Jimmie Johnson is known for his patience behind the wheel. Where other drivers may get too hot under the collar and over-react, Johnson is typically cool as a cucumber — and that’s helped lead him to many of his 82 career NASCAR Cup wins.

That patience once again played out in Johnson’s win Monday in the Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway, only his second career triumph (and first in seven years) at the “World’s Fastest Half-Mile.”

On Monday’s NASCAR America, Greg Biffle and Kyle Petty discussed Johnson’s patience throughout Monday’s race.

 

 

Heavy foot on pit road foils Kyle Larson once again at Bristol

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Kyle Larson did everything he could to win Monday’s Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway.

He led a race-high 203 laps in the 500-lap event, including dominating Stage 1, leading all 125 laps, as well as the first 77 laps in Stage 2.

But Larson, known for the heavy foot he has, saw that need for speed at the wrong time likely cost him the win.

When Erik Jones wrecked on Lap 422, Larson came to pit road and was too fast across two consecutive timing zones on the front straightaway en route to his pit stall.

“I was just pushing on pit road and messed up there,” Larson said after the race. “To start the race, I was the leader, I would run all my greens down pit road, and then once I fell back … down the straightaway I was running one red and flashed the second red real quick, and I guess that was all she wrote.”

NASCAR penalized Larson for speeding on pit road, dropping him to the back of the longest line, restarting in 20th place with 72 laps left in the race.

“Yeah, I knew I gave the race away there,” Larson said. “(I’m) disappointed in myself. I think I speed on pit road every single time I come to Bristol. So, I’ve got to clean that up.”

There’s that heavy foot admission once again.

Ironically, it was Larson’s first speeding penalty this season.

To his credit, Larson was able to quickly climb back up the grid, but couldn’t finish higher than sixth.

Still, Larson tried to a positive spin on things as he began to leave the track.

“I don’t know what more you could ask out of this place,” Larson said. “This is the best track we go to, most exciting place, and I love coming here.”

But he doesn’t like the way he came out of it once again, thanks to that darn heavy foot.

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NASCAR America: Dale Jarrett, Kelli Stavast recap Bristol driver performances

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After waiting out 28 straight hours of rain, Monday’s rescheduled Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway produced a rather exciting race.

The addition of adhesive to the lower grove at the track gave drivers additional grip that led to side-by-side and even three-wide racing.

On Monday’s edition of NASCAR America, NASCAR Hall of Famer Dale Jarrett and Kelli Stavast discussed the top driver performances in Monday’s race.

 

 

NASCAR America: My Home Track: Maine’s Oxford Plains, Beech Ridge Motor Speedway

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NASCAR America’s My Home Track series continued Monday as we visited Maine, otherwise known as the Pine Tree State.

Not only is it a great state for racing, including places like Oxford Plains and Beach Ridge Motor Speedway, Maine also lays claim to NBCSN’s own Steve Letarte, who paid homage to his home state in Monday’s edition of NASCAR America.