Two pro-Israel race car enthusiasts are behind an effort to compete for the Daytona 500 prize with a car bearing an Israeli flag.
The Daytona 500 marks the start of the NASCAR season that concludes with The Sprint Cup Championship. Nearly 200,000 spectators on Sunday February 26 will be rubbing their eyes to make sure they are seeing clearly – a race car sponsored by ”American-Israel Racing (AIR).
AIR says it was formed “to promote awareness of and support by Americans for Israel, the only true democracy in the Middle East as it stands against its enemies” and hopes “to educate Americans on the importance the United States' relationship with Israel through exposure provided by one of the largest spectator sports in the world - NASCAR.
It says the Daytona race “will allow American Israel Racing to spread its message of Israeli support to the masses in a fun, unique and interactive manner.”
Its race car entry displays a unique paint scheme of both the United States and Israel flags as well as an image of a bald eagle holding both nations. The Toyota car will be driven by J.J. Yeley, a top race car driver who has won several competitions.
“We wanted to ensure our car design was not only eye-catching, but properly conveyed the mission and values of America Israel Racing,” said AIR co-founder Rich Shirey. “The eagle in particular contains a great deal of symbolism – it has a determined look on its face, because we are determined to voice the importance of America’s support of Israel.
“However, we wanted to be sure to include the olive branch, because it is a universal sign of peace and above all else, America Israel Racing’s message is a peaceful one.”