Erik Jones heads to his home track, Michigan International Speedway, on the outside looking in for the NASCAR Cup Series Playoff field.
Jones always puts pressure on himself to perform well at the 2-mile track that sits about 70 miles away from his hometown of Byron. This time around he will get two chances in one weekend to try and get that elusive home win.
"It’s always good to come home," Jones told MRN. "I’m pretty excited about this weekend. Hanging out at home this week.
"You always want to run good at home. I think the pressure is a little bit higher on myself just wanting to come and have a good performance at home. That’s a track that for me if I take the crown jewel races out of the season Michigan is the one track I want to win at the most."
Jones has made six Cup starts at the Brooklyn, Mich. track with his best finish – and only top 10 – coming in the 2017 August race, third.
See Also: Michigan Race Info and Schedule
With six races remaining in the regular season, Jones finds himself 31 points behind the 16th and final spot for the playoffs, which is currently occupied by William Byron.
"We want to be in the playoffs and we had a tough week in New Hampshire and that didn’t help," Jones said. "So we’ve got to really focus and run hard for six weeks and, you know, whether it’s pointing our way in through these next six races or getting a win in these next six. Whatever it takes to get ourselves into the playoffs is what we got to do."
In the 16 races since NASCAR returned to racing on May 17 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Jones has posted a 16.2 average finish and seven top 10s.
"It’s been a tough year," Jones said. "I think we’ve been looking for a little bit of speed at the beginning of the year and then we got a little bit better. The no practice has kind of hurt us here the last couple of months. I think you’re always under pressure and we definitely feel it right now obviously being below the cutoff line."
Be sure to listen in the video above to more of MRN’s conversation with Erik Jones that includes the latest on his special 1969 restored Corvette and 10 rapid fire Michigan questions.