NASCAR Next’s Alon Day eager for new chapter – Nascar
RELATED: Meet the 2016-17 NASCAR Next class
There are several traditional routes to stock-car racing’s big leagues. Several stars have emerged from asphalt Late Model circles, others from the sprint cars ranks, either on pavement or dirt.
Alon Day has made a path where just five years ago, he says, none existed in his homeland of Israel.
“I grew up without any motorsports — nothing,” says Day, who fantasized about NASCAR and Formula One as a youth. “When I started racing, which was in 2012, actually motorsport was illegal in Israel.”
Day’s presence in NASCAR’s pipeline reaffirms the notion that there are no uniform directions to the national stage. The NASCAR Next driver’s roundabout journey has taken him from his home in Tel Aviv, to racing single-seaters and other vehicles in Europe, and stock-car sojourns to the United States more than once. It’s a journey, he says, that’s not nearly complete.
“That’s my main priority, for sure, being here in NASCAR, in Trucks or XFINITY or doesn’t matter — but be here, in the United States and not in Europe,” says Day, who has spent the last two years in the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series. “For me, going back to Europe is probably going to be a step down because I feel ready enough to race here, but that’s life. It can be tough sometimes.”
The eagerness led to opportunities for the 25-year-old Day in two national series last year: Two road course events on the XFINITY tour with Carl Long‘s team, and a pair of Camping World Truck Series races on ovals for owner Carlos Contreras.
The road races played to Day’s wheelhouse and he capitalized on his expertise with a 13th-place finish in his XFINITY debut at Mid-Ohio. But his truck time — at New Hampshire and in the Homestead-Miami finale — provided a valuable training experience.
“It’s still a different kind of racing for me,” Day says. “I’m still learning as much as I can in ovals. I try to absorb as much information and more knowledge about oval racing, which is not easy. So definitely the two races I did in trucks were probably the most valuable races I’ve done.”
Besides his forays into racing in the USA, Day’s success in NASCAR’s European circuit — stacking up six victories in his first two seasons — has resonated back in his homeland. Early in January, he was recognized as Israel’s Athlete of the Year in a newly announced category for motorsports.
While he’s still working on making his dreams of racing in the states a reality, he’s also changing popular conceptions of what NASCAR means in his home country.
“In Israel, if I would be very honest, people always — until now — think that NASCAR is just people who turn left and that’s it. Sitting in the car and just turning left,” Day says. “And now when I actually get more success in NASCAR and especially winning the Athlete of the Year, people get more and more interest now. The NASCAR races are broadcast in Israel and I’m really glad.
“People really have the opportunity to understand it and realize that NASCAR is one of the toughest races in the world.”
Write a Reply or Comment:
You must be logged in to post a comment.