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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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Staff picks for today’s Cup race at New Hampshire

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Here’s a look at who the NBC Sports staff is picking to win today’s Cup race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

Nate Ryan

Kyle Busch. He puts last week’s disappointment behind him with another fast car and (this time) a clean day in the pits.

Dustin Long

Denny Hamlin. He sweeps New Hampshire and Toyota continues its dominance at this track.

Daniel McFadin

Kyle Larson. After charging through the field from the rear in July and finishing second, the No. 42 team finishes the job today.

Jerry Bonkowski

Kevin Harvick. He hasn’t been heard from much recently, but this is the kind of track Harvick is at his best. He wins and moves on to the Round of 12.

Today’s Cup Series race at New Hampshire: Start time, weather, TV/radio info

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LOUDON, New Hampshire – The middle race of the first round of the playoffs offers teams that had a bad start a chance to recover or fall further behind.

The pressure builds with the 16-team field cut to 12 after next weekend’s race at Dover.

Here are the details for today’s race:

(All times are Eastern):

START: Marc Del Vecchio, chief technology officer, ISM Connect, will give the command to start engines at 2:07 p.m. Green flag is set for 2:15 p.m.

DISTANCE: The race is scheduled for 300 laps (317.4 miles) around the 1.058-mile speedway.

STAGES: Stage 1 ends on Lap 75. Stage 2 ends on Lap 150.

PRERACE SCHEDULE: The Cup garage opens at 8:30 a.m. The driver/crew chief meeting is at noon. Driver introductions are at 1:30 p.m.

NATIONAL ANTHEM: Marine Corps Veteran, “The Singing Trooper,” Daniel M. Clark will perform the Anthem at 2:01 p.m., followed by a flyover from two F-15C Eagles from the 104th Fighter Wing, Barnes Air National Guard Base.

TV/RADIO: NBCSN will broadcast the race at 2 p.m. Coverage begins at 1 p.m. on NBCSN with NASCAR America, followed by Countdown to Green at 1:30 p.m. The Performance Racing Network radio broadcast begins at 1 p.m. on goprn.com and affiliates. SiriusXM NASCAR Radio will carry the PRN broadcast.

FORECAST: The wunderground.com site predicts a temperature of 81 degrees and a zero percent chance of rain at race time.

LAST TIME: Denny Hamlin led 54 of 301 laps to win the July race. Kyle Larson placed second. Martin Truex Jr. was third. Kevin Harvick led the final six laps to win this race last year. Matt Kenseth was second. Kyle Busch placed third.

 STARTING LINEUP: Click here for starting lineup

 

Justin Allgaier, Cole Custer tied at top of Xfinity playoff standings

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Justin Allgaier and Cole Custer are tied for the top spot in the Xfinity playoff standings after the playoff opener at Kentucky Speedway.

Each driver has 2,057 points.

Allgaier finished third after bouncing back from losing a tire on Lap 19 and going two laps down. He was two laps down for 27 laps and one lap down for 30 before getting back on the lead lap.

Custer, who finished fifth, won the first two stages of the race, earning two playoff points in the process.

The top five in points are Allgaier, Custer, Elliott Sadler (-2), Daniel Hemric (-5) and William Byron (-6).

Click here for the points standings.

Results from Xfinity race at Kentucky Speedway

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Tyler Reddick scored his first career NASCAR Xfinity Series win, leading a 1-2 finish for Chip Ganassi Racing on Saturday night at Kentucky Speedway.

Reddick beat teammate Brennan Poole by 14.5 seconds in the playoff opener.

Reddick is the seventh different winner in the last seven series races. He led twice for 66 laps. Reddick had not led any laps until Saturday night.

Playoff contender Justin Allgaier rallied from two laps down after a right front tire went down early in the 200-lap race to finish third. Ryan Preece placed fourth. Rookie Cole Custer, who won both stages, finished fifth.

Click here for race results