First Israeli to Compete in NASCAR, Thanks to Jewish Lawyer (And Duck Dynasty Patriarch)

Sarasota lawyer David Levin, who is Jewish himself, was spurred act after being insulted by an Phil Robertson expressing the prayer at a race that 'we put a Jesus man in the White House.'

A Florida lawyer has reached out to an Israeli race car driver, USA Today reported Saturday, in an effort to propel someone Jewish into a prominent spot in a sport that has not been known for its Jewish involvement.

The lawyer and car racing fan, Sarasota resident David Levin, was spurred to reach out to Israeli Alon Day after becoming upset to see a nationally-televised race in April begin with an invocation by Phil Robertson of the reality show "Duck Dynasty," who expressed the wish "that we put a Jesus man in the White House."

That "didn’t sit well with Levin," USA Today reported. Calling it insulting, Levin told USA Today: "It reinforced the impression that NASCAR [the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing] is a white, Christian sport. But NASCAR is for everyone. There’s no reason it can’t also include Jews, blacks and Mexicans.”

Levin reached out to Day, a Tel Aviv resident who has raced in the United States but never in the high-profile NASCAR Next program. Thanks to Levin, Day will make his national series debut on August 14 at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course between Cleveland and Columbus. "It's not known if a Jewish driver has ever made it to the NASCAR national series level before Day, but it's certainly a rarity," USA Today reported. In Day's case, it was all made possible thanks to a $60,000 financial guarantee from Levin.  

“The main thing is, this is the right thing to do,” Levin told USA Today. “Jewish kids want to have a sports role model. This is something where the Jewish community should step up to the plate.”

But USA Today added: "Levin said he’s reached out to more than 200 companies with Jewish affiliation or leadership, and has been frustrated so far by the lack of response. He’s gotten the indication many don’t believe NASCAR is something Jewish people follow, but he disagrees."

Race car driving was only legalized in Israel in 2011, despite concerns, including worries over the safety of the sport.