I've seen the movie "Airplane!" so many times and I always chuckle at my favorite scene. It's when the flight attendant offers a thin leaflet titled "Jewish Sports Legends" to a passenger on the plane. The stereotype that Jews aren't successful in sports might be fairly accurate. After all, there really aren't that many famous Jewish athletes. However, what's even more rare than a famous Jewish athlete is a famous Jewish NASCAR driver. That makes the story of Alon Day really unique.
Not only is NASCAR driver Alon Day Jewish, but he's also Israeli. A recent article in Sports Illustrated noted that Alon Day is the first Jewish NASCAR driver. He led his team to their first-ever first place finish. While Day didn't drive the team's car in the victory lap, he managed to hold a spot in one of the top ten positions and for a while even maintained second place.
Alon Day is from Ashdod, the country's sixth-largest city and the largest port in all of Israel. Day's benefactor is Jewish attorney David Levin, who has a goal of promoting Israel through motorsports. Yes, that is an odd goal, but he might be on to something. NASCAR hasn't traditionally had a large Jewish fan base, although it is growing. I've been a fan of NASCAR my entire life because of the excitement of the speeding cars and the drivers fighting for position around the track. Perhaps I discovered my love of auto racing as a kid in Detroit watching the Detroit Grand Prix race around the streets of downtown Detroit and Belle Isle.