“Always remember that with enough willpower and practice, everything is possible. Just believe in yourself,” Israeli NASCAR driver Alon Day said.

The only native Israeli to ever compete in NASCAR (National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing) , Alon Day, from Ashdod, has achieved great success in his young career as a professional race car driver, despite coming from a country where motorsports were illegal when he was growing up.

“It’s a big honor for me to be able to participate in the top level of racing in the USA,” Day told Tazpit Press Service in an interview.

The 25-year-old Day was one of eleven drivers selected to the 2016-2017 NASCAR Next class, an initiative based in the US that recognizes young drivers from around the world with a track record of success who are attempting to move up the NASCAR ladder.

As one of two international drivers on the list, Day is the first driver of  NASCAR’S European circuit, the Whelen Euro Series, to earn NASCAR Next recognition. Day competed in the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series in 2015, where he achieved second place that year and third place in 2016. Last year, Day competed in four NASCAR races in the United States, placing 13th place in the NASCAR Xfinity Series in Mid-Ohio.

“Today, the motorsport reality is different in Israel. The country is moving forward with advancing motorsports and I believe that with time, motorsports will become more popular,” said Day, who was honored by the Israel Ministry of Culture and Sports as the state’s Athlete of the Year for 2016 for his accomplishments back in December.

“Just the fact that I was recognized as the Athlete of the Year as the first motorsport athlete is a stamp of approval that this area of sport is definitely moving forward,” he told TPS. “I am sure that in 2017, we will see more motorsport racing in Israel, and I hope to participate in the races as well,” added Day.

In a NASCAR press conference last week, Day told reporters that while many Israelis did not understand what NASCAR was all about when he was growing up, he initially became interested in motorsports thanks to NASCAR and Formula 1.

“Now with my success in NASCAR, and especially winning Athlete of the Year, people in my country are getting more interested in this sport. The NASCAR races are now broadcast in Israel and I am glad that people have the opportunity to understand and realize that NASCAR is one of the toughest races in the world.”

Day told TPS that without financial support and sponsors, it would be impossible to move forward in the sport. “I am definitely thankful for all the sponsors and I have to say a big thanks to Maabadot Izotest and Chevrolet who are supporting me. Without them, I probably wouldn’t achieve what I have been able to do,” he said.

To young Israelis interested in beginning a racing career, Day says that the best way to start is with go-karts. “I began my racing career with go-karts at age 10, when there were no motorsports at all in Israel, and still managed to make it into the big leagues. Always remember that with enough will power and practice, everything is possible. Just believe in yourself.”

By: Anav Silverman/TPS

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