RELATED: Mid-Ohio results
LEXINGTON, Ohio -- For Alon Day, sitting next to race runner-up Sam Hornish Jr. in a post-race press conference was a thrill.
Day received congratulations from one of his "childhood heroes" after a 13th-place finish in his NASCAR national series debut in the XFINITY Series' Mid-Ohio Challenge Saturday at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. The NASCAR Next driver was the first Israeli driver to make a NASCAR national series start as well.
The 24-year-old turned plenty of heads with a lengthy amount of time in the top 10 during a wet race at Mid-Ohio.
The No. 40 MBM Motorsports Dodge had a best finish of 30th this year at Talladega coming into Mid-Ohio, something that was not lost on Day.
"When the deal came, they told me you were going to drive the No. 40 car," Day said. " ... My expectation wasn't that high to be honest. I said if I would finish like 25th, I'd be super happy with that and to find myself fighting for the lead, that's not bad."
In road racing, it's been said that rain is the great equalizer. Day, for one, was excited by that prospect -- so much so that it came in conversation with Hornish earlier in the week.
"He said the other day, 'I want it to rain,' " Hornish shared. "I said, " 'Be careful what you wish for.' "
The wet weather, though, proved beneficial for Day, who started 22nd. A caution for weather came out quickly, leading teams to pit for rain tires on Lap 3.
"The moment the rain hit, I realized we were going to change to rain tires," Day said. "I knew I had the speed to attack as soon as possible. Just on the first restart, I began attacking immediately.
"I knew some guys would be a bit slow on the rain. I have some experience in the rain in Europe, we're used to driving in the rain all the time. I'm really happy. (You) can't imagine how excited I am sitting here."
Day has honed his skills in the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series, scoring a second-place overall in the championship run for the 2015 season. He has raised his game in 2016 in that series with two wins and four top-fives, en route to becoming the first driver outside of North America to be selected to NASCAR Next.
Day is set to drive for MBM again at another road course, Road America, on Aug. 27 (3 p.m. ET, NBCSN, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) and hopes to do more beyond that.
"We expect to do five more races but it all depends on sponsorship and finding the budget," Day said.