Erik Jones knows his Michigan history -- well, most of it
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?”