Israeli NASCAR driver Alon Day to pay homage to hostages at upcoming race, slams rise of antisemitism

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Alon Day will be driving for more than just a chance at Victory Lane on Saturday as the NASCAR Xfinity Series race heads to Chicago for its street race.

Day, the lone Israeli driver in the NASCAR ranks, will pay homage to those still held captive by Hamas after its Oct. 7 terrorist attacks. Day will drive the No. 45 Chevy Camaro for Alpha Prime Racing and Jet Support Services Inc. (JSSI), and Setna iO will serve as two of the sponsors.

The four-time EuroNASCAR champion told Fox News Digital he has five friends who are among the 116 people still believed to be held captive by Hamas.

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Alon Day in 2017

Alon Day is presented with his championship ring during the NASCAR Touring Night of Champions at the Charlotte Convention Center on Dec. 8, 2017, in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

“I think I’m more motivated than ever. I won four times, the European Championship, and I always did it for my own success,” Day said. “Like all of us, we’re human. We try to be the best we can. We try to win [championships] for ourselves.

“I think this time something a bit [changed] in me – doing that not only for myself but actually for the whole country, for the hostages, obviously for the [Israeli] soldiers, for the Jewish community in general here in the United States – I’m motivated by something else, by the war, by friends that are still hostages. This is what actually wants me to push to do even better.”

It’s the second year the NASCAR Xfinity Series will have the street race in Chicago.

Day, who is from Ashdod, Israel, said he believes the anti-Israel agitators made the streets of Chicago dangerous.

“The pro-Hamas protests on the streets, especially in the streets of Chicago, which is actually getting really dangerous. I was there for a couple of days, like a week ago, and I felt the need to check that I’m not wearing anything that can identify myself as Jewish,” he said. “I mean, this is how bad it is. Sounds like Germany in the ‘30s that I need to hide my Judaism.”

Day’s car will have a JSSI-branded wrap in blue and white – the colors of the Israeli flag. The car will also have the Hebrew word for life on it, חי, in tribute to those being held captive.

Alon Day in Croatia

Alon Day, center, will drive for more than just a chance at Victory Lane on Saturday. (Goran Kovacic/Pixsell/MB Media/Getty Images/File)

JSSI CEO and Chair Neil Book said it was “shocking” to see students on American campuses express support for Hamas over the last few months.

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“It was shocking to me, not only to see that swell of hate and antisemitism in the United States, it was shocking that it came in response to the worst attack on Israel and the Jewish people since the Holocaust,” he told Fox News Digital. “I feel a little embarrassed from my own naivety. I did not forsee that kind of response from forces within the United States and around the world.”

Day said he hopes to educate those who don’t know what’s actually going on in the region.

“We want to educate a bit more people with what’s actually going on,” he said. “A lot of people don’t really know. They have comments. [But] it’s like me commenting on the United States and Vietnam, like doing something that’s not related to you, and you still have comments when you don’t have any clue [about] what’s going on and [not] even educated enough to have a comment on that.

Day said it was “crazy” to him to see people supporting Hamas, and he compared it to someone showing support for Usama bin Laden after Sept. 11.

He added that unless you were in Israel on Oct. 7 or live in the country in general, then you have no real idea about what’s happening in the region. 

“A lot of the time, I think people are just missing it – education and just following TikTok, social media, that just brainwashed them,” Day explained. “I think the biggest example, in my opinion, is when you start seeing the LGBTQ or Queers for Gaza, for Palestine, whatever, it’s like chicken for KFC. This is how crazy it is.

Alon Day at Sonoma in 2017

Alon Day (Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images/File)

“They don’t even know the meaning of being homosexual in Palestine. It’s not acceptable. You will be dead. This is just a small, small idea about how uneducated people [are] here.”

Day will be competing against some of the top drivers in the Xfinity Series, which may make it more difficult to see the Winner’s Circle come mid-Saturday.

Book said that having Day in Chicago, given the recent rise of antisemitism he’s seen in the city, and racing with the Israeli flag behind him is an achievement in itself.

“Having Alon just being here, racing with the Israeli flag behind him, I think he’s already wanted to achieve something just for being here,” Book told Fox News Digital. “But I know Alon. The guy’s a competitor. He does not race for second place.

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“So, I think if you ask him, anything less than a victory is probably not ideal. But for me, I think just him being here means a lot. I’m thrilled that he’s here. I’m thrilled that he’s racing. And I’m excited to see him mix it up here on Saturday.”

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