Israeli driver Alon Day (center) wrapped up the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series title yesterday, finishing the final race of the season in fourth place in Zolder, Belgium..
(photo credit: NASCAR WHELEN EURO SERIES / STEPHANE AZEMARD)
Israel’s Alon Day made local motor sport history on Sunday, clinching the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series championship in Zolder, Belgium.
The 26-year-old ended his sensational season by winning Saturday’s race in Zolder and then settling for fourth on Sunday, knowing that he had already secured the title simply by completing the first lap.
Day won four races in all this season, with Saturday’s victory being his third straight in the playoffs and the 10th in the CAAL Racing driver’s career. Day has competed for CAAL Racing for the past three years, finishing his first year with the team in 2015 in second place overall and coming third last year.
Day was extremely consistent throughout this season, registering 11 top-5 finishes to go with his four wins, as well as finishing 10 times in the top-10.
“It is such an amazing feeling,” said Day on Sunday after bringing CAAL Racing a first championship in its 41-year racing history. “We were trying so hard the past three years to win this title, we won so many races but never the championship.
Finishing the season like this is the sweetest thing I can ask. 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.”
Registering breakthrough accomplishments is nothing new for Day, who earlier this year became the first Israeli to race in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. He ended the Toyota/Save Mart 350 at the Sonoma Raceway in California in 32nd place back in June.
Day’s next goal is to become a full-time Cup Series driver.
He is the first driver from outside of North America to be selected for the NASCAR NEXT program, an initiative that features NASCAR ’s future stars.
Day also won the 2009 Asian Formula Renault Series and FIA GT Championship and he has raced in several US Xfinity Series League events.
But in order to become a regular NASCAR Cup Series driver, Day needs to find a significant sponsor who will be willing to cover around $200,000 in expenses for each race in which he participates.
A Jewish-American attorney named David Levin has led Day’s cause over recent years, searching for financial backing. Levin put up $60,000 of his own money and helped recruit NFL Hall of Famer Franco Harris as a sponsor, but assistance from the Jewish community hasn’t been forthcoming.
“We thought that everyone in the Jewish community would want to support an Israeli-Jewish driver but we have encountered some difficulties,” Day told The Jerusalem Post before making his Cup Series debut. “I receive a lot of moral support from Israel, but finding a sponsor and funding has been far more difficult.”
While he continues to work on his plans for next year, Day can look forward to a trip to the NASCAR Hall Of Fame in Charlotte, North Carolina, on December 8 when his outstanding success is set to be recognized at the traditional awards banquet.