By: Pete Pistone – @PPistone | MRN.com on June 17, 2017 | 9:30 A.M. EST
“I told somebody…that I was jealous last year watching Kyle Larson get his first win here because I was saying, ‘Man, that sure would be pretty storybook if I could do something like that.’ I’d love to get my first win here.” (Photo: Getty Images)
Erik Jones makes his home state Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series debut Sunday in the FireKeepers Casino 400 at Michigan International Speedway.
The Byron, Michigan native has had an opportunity to spend time with friends and family in the days leading up to his first career Cup race at MIS.
“Yeah, it’s been a busy week,” Jones said. “I didn’t get home ‘til Tuesday night, drove back up here and went over and tested a late model on Wednesday over in Grand Rapids, Michigan and then yesterday kind of got to take the day off, visit a little friends and family and then back it again today, so just nice to come home.
“Nice to sleep in the house that I grew up in and stay there – it’s only about an hour away from here – and roll into the race track in the morning. It’s just cool to be here and on Sunday get all the family and friends out. I’ve burned through every possible hot pass I can get, so just nice to have everybody here and be close to home.”
Jones will start 14th on Sunday and comes to Michigan off his career best Cup performance last week when his finished third at Pocono. The Furniture Row racing driver has shown steady improvement in the last few weeks and Jones admits to being much more comfortable as his rookie season progresses.
Jones – along with Kyle Larson, Chase Elliott, Ryan Blaney and other young drivers – is hoping to be another successful part of the sport’s current youth movement for years to come.
“It’s neat to see us all kind of come in at the same time,” he said. “I’ve raced with a lot of these guys for a long time and to be all at this level together is a little bit surreal. When you race against guys when you’re younger and late models and stuff, you don’t really think you’re going to race them forever – all make it to this level – so to see us all here and having our chance is pretty cool.”
But winning a first career race at NASCAR’s highest level on his home track would be even cooler.
“It’d be really cool,” Jones said. “I told somebody…that I was jealous last year watching Kyle Larson get his first win here because I was saying, ‘Man, that sure would be pretty storybook if I could do something like that.’ I’d love to get my first win here.
“We have a lot of momentum right now and I think we brought a good car again this weekend, so it would mean a lot to me. It definitely would be cool with as many people that would be here watching and would get to enjoy it all with me in victory lane and then head right over and do another ace on Monday, so it’d be pretty special.”
Motor Racing Network – “The Voice of NASCAR” will have live coverage of Sunday’s FireKeepers Casino 400 Monster Energy Series race, beginning at 2 p.m. (ET) – with live streaming at MRN.com and on the MRN App.