October 2017 – Alon Day, NASCAR Driver
For a tiny country without a very extensive highway system, Israel has managed to produce a population of drivers that have been known to push limits. But no Israeli has ever been able to transfer their skills to the competitive world – until recently. Introducing Alon Day, Israeli professional stock car racer amid the country’s first-ever driver to compete in one of NASCAR’s top three touring series. Day drove the number 23 Earth Water Limited Toyota Camry for BK Racing in his first race as a part of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. Starting in the 32nd, and last, position this past June in the Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Sonoma Raceway, Day ran as high as 14th position before being forced back to 32nd after sustaining heavy damage to the front of his car. Nevertheless, he made history as the first NASCAR Whelen Euro Series driver and first Israeli to compete at Cup level, challenging the world’s best.
Day was born in Ashdod (though he currently resides in Tel Aviv), and began showing an interest in racing at the early age of 10 when he began racing go-karts. After completing his IDF service, Day was awarded status as an IDF outstanding sportsman, the only Israeli in a Formula sport to be accorded such status.
“I’m not doing this for myself, I’m making history for my country and so many people in the Jewish community,” Day said in advance of his first appearance in a NASCAR race. “It’s a big thing in Israel because there’s almost no motorsports there. My mother opened a newspaper in Israel and my photo and story were on the front page. Everyone is following me and it is good to know.”
His way to the NASCAR circuit ran through Asia and Europe. He won the Asian Formula Renault Challenge championship in 2009 then drove in the German Formula Three Championships in 2010. By 2012, Day transitioned to North America, where he drove in the Firestone Indy Lights series, having qualified in June of that year at Iowa Speedway, where he was sponsored by the Jewish Racing Drivers Association. Then he made the switch to NASCAR, which does not race on ovals, but rather on road courses.
“NASCAR changed my life,” day explained. “Somehow, I got the opportunity to test in European NASCAR and it went the best way [it could], and two and a half years later, I am doing my first race ever in the Cup. So it’s something pretty remarkable for me, and every time I think about it, it’s just crazy.”
Day is making a name for himself in North America, and finding new friends along the way. “I like giving new drivers an opportunity, and Alon is a great road course driver,” BK Racing owner Ron Devine said. Of his fellow drivers on the North American circuit, Day noted, “I noticed how friendly drivers can be and how happy [they are] to share and help other drivers, which is something you don’t see in Europe.”
Alon Day is no stranger to NASCAR on this side of the pond. In 2016, he competed in two XFINITY Series and two Truck Series races, and he was the first driver outside of North America to be a member of the NASCAR Next program — which showcases racing’s brightest young stars.