Alon Day was having a very good day. The 26-year-old race car driver entered Israeli motorsport history last weekend when he clinched the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series championship in Zolder, Belgium.
Day is in the midst of a sensational racing season. He won four races in total this year. The Whelen race on Saturday was his third straight victory in the playoffs and the 10th in his career with CAAL Racing, the Italian racing team Day has been with for three years. He came in second place overall with the team in 2015 and came in third last year.
This year, Day finished in the top 5 eleven times and in the top 10 ten times.
“Finishing the season like this is the sweetest thing I can ask,” Day said. “I am so happy for the CAAL Racing team, they did a great job all season long. We finally made it. I have no words right now.”
Day has racked up a series of other racing accomplishments in his brief career. Earlier this year, he became the first Israeli to race in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. And he came in 32nd place in the Toyota/Save Mart 350 at the Sonoma Raceway in California.
He is the first driver from outside North America to be selected for the NASCAR NEXT program. In 2009, he won the Asian Formula Renault Series and FIA GT Championship. He has also raced in several US Xfinity Series League events.
Day grew up in Ashdod and, when he’s not competing overseas, lives in Tel Aviv. In January 2017, Day was recognized by Israel’s Ministry of Culture and Sports as Israel’s “Athlete of the Year” in the motorsports category.
Day hopes to become a full-time Cup Series driver. That will require some financial backing – it costs some $200,000 for each race in which he participates. So far, David Levin, a Jewish-American attorney, has put up $60,000 of his own money. NFL Hall of Famer Franco Harris is also sponsoring Day.
While he searches for more funding to fulfill his dream, Day is racing to a more sedate honor: the NASCAR Hall of Fame’s traditional awards banquet in Charlotte, North Carolina, where Day will be recognized for his achievements.
[Photo: ILTV ISRAEL DAILY / YouTube]