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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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Penalty report from Bristol Motor Speedway

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NASCAR has issued three fines to Cup Series crew chiefs for unsecured lug nuts following Saturday’s race at Bristol Motor Speedway.

Paul Wolfe, crew chief on Brad Keselowski‘s No. 2 Ford, Alan Gustafson, crew chief on Chase Elliott‘s No. 9 Chevrolet and Michael Bugarewicz, crew chief on Clint Bowyer‘s No. 14 Ford, have each been fined $10,000 for having one unsecured lug nut.

Those fines are in addition to the points penalties against Tyler Reddick‘s Xfinity Series team (10 driver and owner points) for failing pre-qualifying inspection four times.

NASCAR also indefinitely suspended Bayley Currey for violating its substance abuse policy.

Michael McDowell to honor Jimmy Means with Darlington scheme

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Front Row Motorsports is changing things up on its No. 34 Ford for the Throwback Weekend at Darlington Raceway next week (6 p.m. Sept 1 on NBCSN).

After three years of using the same retro Love’s Travel Stops paint scheme, the team will show up in Darlington next weekend with Dockside Logistics as Michael McDowell‘s primary sponsor. With that sponsor comes a tribute to long-time NASCAR owner and former driver Jimmy Means.

McDowell’s car will be made to look like the No. 52 Alka-Seltzer Pontiac Means owned and drove part-time from 1989-91 in the Cup Series.

One of Means’ cars, which was driven by Mike Wallace, is located in Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s car graveyard.

More: Retro Rundown of Southern 500 paint schemes

Front Row Motorsports was originally known as Means-Jenkins Motorsports, based on a partnership between Means and current FRM team owner Bob Jenkins. Their relationship began with Jenkins sponsoring Means at Bristol with his local Taco Bell franchise, which led Jenkins to a partial ownership of Means’ race team. The team was active for one year before Jenkins separated and founded Front Row Motorsports.

“Throwback weekend at Darlington is one of my favorites of the whole year,” McDowell said in a press release. “It’s fun to recreate some of the most well-known paint schemes throughout the history of our sport. Our owner, Bob Jenkins, has always admired Jimmy Means, and the Alka-Seltzer car is definitely a favorite of his. I’m really excited that we can honor their friendship with our No. 34 Dockside Logistics Ford.”

Corey LaJoie to carry ‘Scooby Doo’ paint scheme at Martinsville

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Rut-roh.

Popular cartoon character Scooby Doo will be featured as the theme on Corey LaJoie’s No. 32 Go Fas Racing Ford Mustang for the First Data 500 on Oct. 27 at Martinsville Speedway.

Long-time team sponsor Keen Parts/CorvetteParts.net will transform the team’s usual paint scheme to what it’s calling “the Mystery Machine” for the Martinsville race, which will be four days before Halloween.

“Scooby Doo was my favorite cartoon growing up, so when Tom and TJ (team co-sponsors Tom and TJ Keen) asked what I wanted to do for Martinsville, there was no doubt that I wanted to be driving the Mystery Machine,” LaJoie said in a media release. “They always have really cool themes behind their Halloween-weekend schemes and I’m excited to be part of this one and thankful for all that they do for our team.”

For last year’s fall race at Martinsville the team and sponsor combined for a purple and black Peanuts scheme that featured Snoopy and quickly became a much-talked about fan favorite.

“We are super excited to present this paint scheme to Corey to run at Martinsville,” said lTJ Keen. “This cartoon was his favorite as a kid and I bet it still is today. We cannot thank the team enough for letting us do these schemes and we hope you fans will enjoy it.”

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Richard Childress resigns from National Rifle Association’s Board of Directors

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On Monday, Richard Childress submitted his resignation letter as a member of the Board of Directors for the National Rifle Association and a handful of the organization’s committees, NBC Sports has confirmed.

The resignation came two days after the owner of Richard Childress Racing helped give the command to start engines  for the Cup Series night race at Bristol Motor Speedway, which was co-sponsored by Bass Pro Shops and the NRA.

“At this time, it is necessary for me to fully focus on my businesses,” Childress said in his letter. “I owe that to my employees, our partners, my family, and myself. Since proudly agreeing to serve on the NRA Board, I have supported the organization and its important mission to preserve and protect our Constitutional rights. But when, as now, I am no longer able to be fully engaged in any commitment I have made, it becomes time for me to step down. I have reached that point in my ability to continue to serve the NRA. As such, I must resign.”

According to the Washington Post, Childress is the sixth member of the Board of Directors to resign since May. The Board of Directors totals more than 70 members.

Childress was elected as the NRA’s second vice president in 2015 and had also served as the first vice president until he stepped down in April of this year.

Childress will retain his NRA membership moving forward.