Last weekend, USA Today published somewhat interesting story that introduced readers to Alon Day, who is set to become the first Israeli NASCAR driver—and maybe the first Jew—to compete in the auto-racing organization’s history. The piece was not entirely focused on Day, however, but on a Floridian lawyer name David Levin who was inspired to promote a Jewish driver on the racing circuit after he heard Duck Dynasty star Phil Robertson give an invocation before a race at Texas Motor Speedway, during which the reality TV actor publicly prayed for “a Jesus man in the White House.”
Levin, a NASCAR fan, feels as though NASCAR is—and ought to be promoted as—a sport with diversity, so he thought of Day. “[Roberston’s invocation] reinforced the impression that NASCAR is a white, Christian sport,” he told the paper. “But NASCAR is for everyone. There’s no reason it can’t also include Jews, blacks, and Mexicans.”
The problem is that Levin hasn’t been able to find Day sponsorship, so he’s committed $60,000 from his retirement account to ensure that the Tel Avivian could compete. As part of NASCAR’s Next program, Day will compete in two races in the NASCAR Xfinity Series in August—one in Ohio, another in Wisconsin.
So who is this Alon Day?
The first thing you should know about Day is that he’s a Tool fan. He’s also into Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, The Doors, and Bob Dylan. Unfortunately, his taste in these exquisite musical artists is mollified by his love of Coldplay.
The 21-year-old Day is also single, according to his website, and he’s a Scorpio.
His car number is 54, a number that becomes 18 when its divided by three.
Other than that, you should know that Day has been driving since he was 10 years old, when he received a go-kart class as a gift. He’s competed in Israel, Germany, England, Hungary, and Shanghai, among, I’m sure, many other places we’d all like to visit and drive fast through.
I’m so glad and excited to finally announce that. I’m a #NASCARnext driver!! Super thankful for this opportunity! https://t.co/vFPJPVYxty
— Alon Day (@Alon_Day) May 18, 2016
Jonathan Zalman is a writer and teacher based in Brooklyn.