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Israel native Alon Day impresses in NASCAR Xfinity Series debut at Mid-Ohio

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Even though he was half a world away from his native Israel, Alon Day felt right at home in Saturday’s NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

In making his Xfinity debut, Day became the first Israeli-born driver to compete in a NASCAR race in the United States and finished a respectable 13th, including challenging for the lead at one point.

“Everyone was very welcoming, all the drivers,” Day said. “Every driver I talked to tried to help.”

Part of the reason Day seemed so comfortable behind the wheel of the No. 40 Dodge is his past experience in road course racing as well as racing in the rain overseas. When the rains came early in Saturday’s race and again heavier late in the event, it actually played to Day’s experience and skill set.

“I was hoping for rain, I was really actually praying for rain,” Day said. “I knew I could do something real good in the rain because I used to drive in the rain in Europe. Fortunately, when it came, I settled into third position and was fighting for the lead.

“I knew the rain would come and I could get some spots (to challenge). The moment the rain hits, and I realized we would change to rain tires, I knew I had the speed and would attack as soon as possible.

“On the first restart and attacking immediately, I knew some guys would be slow in the rain. I have experience on the rain in Europe, I used to drive in the rain all the time, so I’m really happy. I can’t imagine how excited I am.”

Alon Day finished an impressive 13th during the 4th annual NASCAR XFINITY Series Mid-Ohio Challenge at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on Saturday.

Day, who is part of the NASCAR Next program, potentially could have finished with a top five, maybe a top 10.

“It was fun until the second rain,” he said. “When the second rain came, someone spun and hit my front suspension and damaged the car and, unfortunately, it was almost impossible to drive the car.

“I knew I had a shot for a top five, but it was impossible to drive from that moment. I just tried to survive and unfortunately it wasn’t the same.”

Day, who previously dabbled briefly (six races in 2012) in the Indy Lights Series, plans to drive in several more Xfinity races between now and the end of the season. His next race is in two weeks at Road America.

He also is in a heated championship battle in the NASCAR Euro Series.

“I’m hoping that at Road America, I can do the same – maybe even better,” Day said. “We expect to do five more races, but it all depends on sponsorship and finding the budget.

“My expectation wasn’t that high, to be honest. If I finished 25th, I’d be super high for that. Suddenly, I find myself fighting for the lead, and that’s not bad, you know?”

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NASCAR America: Looking back at Cup winners this year (video)

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The NASCAR Cup Series is through 19 racers. There are 17 more races to be contested, including seven before the Cup playoffs.

It’s been a rough time for many and a successful time for a select few.

There’s still plenty of racing to go. Who will see their name added to the list of winners in 2017 and, more importantly, who still wins a race to make it in the playoffs?

Check out the video above.

NASCAR America: Can Team Penske get back on track in Indianapolis? (video)

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Roger Penske is used to winning at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. He owns a record 16 Indy 500 victories there.

But Penske still has yet to win a Brickyard 400 at IMS. While in other years, Team Penske’s chances may have been stronger, coming into the 2017 Brickyard 400 is a whole other ballgame.

Joey Logano has struggled terribly in the last 10 races. Since winning at Richmond (which was eventually encumbered due to a post-race inspection penalty), Logano has had seven finishes of 21st through 37th. He’s also dropped from fifth to 13th in the standings.

Teammate Brad Keselowski has had his own struggles, dropping from third to eighth in the standings.

The biggest problem that seems to be impacting Team Penske is a lack of speed, more so on Logano’s car, but an issue nonetheless for both cars.

Can Team Penske snap out of its funk and find the speed it’s been missing Sunday, and potentially give Captain Penske his first NASCAR Cup win at the track that means so much to him?

Check out the video above.

NASCAR America: Kyle Busch needs to be aware of Martin Truex Jr. at Brickyard (video)

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Kyle Busch is well aware of his wins drought, not having won in his last 36 Cup starts.

But he also gains confidence and optimism from having won the last two Brickyard 400s.

So how will that impact the weekend?

On Friday’s NASCAR America, Dale Jarrett said Indy “plays into Busch’s hand,” but also to look out for Martin Truex Jr.

Check out the video above.

 

 

NASCAR America: Significance of winning at Indianapolis (video)

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On Friday’s edition of NASCAR America, two-time Brickyard 400 winner and NASCAR Hall of Famer Dale Jarrett and Brickyard-winning crew chief Slugger Labbe, who led Paul Menard to a Brickyard 400 win, both discussed the importance of winning at Indianapolis Motor Speedway — as well as how to do it.

Check out the video above.