More than 600 miles away from NASCAR hotbed North Carolina, Michigan surprisingly has produced two of NASCAR's top current talents.
The Great Lakes State churned out 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Brad Keselowski and is also the home state of up-and-coming star Erik Jones -- the winner of the most NASCAR national series races (five) before age 19.
Jones, following in Keselowski's footsteps, will race in his native state for the first time Saturday in the Careers for Veterans 200 at Michigan International Speedway (1 p.m. ET on FOX Sports 1).
"It's pretty special to me," Jones said. "I'm proud of where I'm from, and being able to race so close to home at this level is going to be special. For the last two years, everyone has been asking me when I'm going to get to race at Michigan, and this is the first year that I've been able to tell them that I'll be racing there."
Jones enters the race vying for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series championship. He ranks third in the series standings, trailing Tyler Reddick by 16 points. This season, Jones has one win, seven top-five finishes and nine top-10s.
The Byron native wants to put on a show for the home crowd.
"I think any time you are at a level in NASCAR, you want to race at your home track," he said. "Michigan is obviously my home track and this will be the first time that I get to race there. It's only about an hour from the house I grew up in, and I went there quite a few times as a kid to watch races as a young fan. I'm excited that this time I'll be out on the track. Hopefully we can have a good run for all of my friends and my family that will be there to cheer me on."