Friday, September 24th | 18 Tishri 5782

The Top 100 People Positively Influencing Jewish Life, 2017


Alon Day

Professional car racer

Israel’s Athlete of the Year for 2016 was a highly unusual choice: A NASCAR driver named Alon Day. A native of Ashdod, Day gave up his dream of being a fighter pilot to race cars and has steadily risen to the top of the sport even though, ironically, it was banned in his native country until 2011.

All of 25 years old, Day scored major wins in NASCAR’s Euro Series and is now the North American branch’s first Jewish professional driver. “Being the first Israeli who is going to race in NASCAR’s highest series is a dream come true,” he said. In his debut race, he placed 13th, which was described as “a surprising result for a rookie in his first race.”

Many now see him as a sign that NASCAR can diversify and create an appeal broader than its core audience of white males. Indeed, one supporter calls him “the standard bearer for American Jews and Israel” in this “quintessentially American sport.” (Photo credit: Facebook.)


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