If you’re a NASCAR fan, you might have seen the No. 31 Chevrolet Camaro SS zipping down the track at Charlotte Motor Speedway over Memorial Day weekend. If you’re a military person or a history buff, you may have noticed that its color matches the drab olive that was prevalent in the military for much of the 20th century.
There was a reason for that, and it was all thanks to Air Force Staff Sgt. Sabatino DiMascio. The six-year Air Force veteran is passionate about history and racing. Thanks to his talents as a graphic designer, he was at the origin of the painting of car n°31.
DiMascio, 26, of Middletown, Delaware, works in public affairs at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst in New Jersey. It’s a role he took on last year after working as a maintainer of C-17 Globemaster III aircraft.
When the Air Force opened a competition last fall for Airmen to submit designs for a NASCAR Cup Series car’s paint scheme, Staff Sgt. was all in. This year marks the Air Force’s 75th anniversary, and DiMascio said he chose a green paint job that paid homage to the C-47 Skytrains that flew over Normandy, France in the early hours of D-Day in World War II.
“When I was trying to think of the design I wanted to do, the story of the C-47 and the dynamic design that I could do really popped out,” DiMascio said. “I wanted to design a car that stood out and represented a lot of our history, both Air Force and Army Air Corps.”
His design didn’t win the competition, but his public affairs connections and prowess helped bring his creation to life. DiMascio reached out to Jordan Anderson, owner of the #31 Camaro, and asked if his team would consider using a Patriotic paint scheme at a Memorial Day weekend race.
“Actually [Anderson’s] grandfather, Major Ralph Clifton Anderson Sr., flew on D-Day on a C-47,” DiMascio said.
Anderson was interested in the idea, so the pair reworked the design DiMascio had submitted for the Air Force competition. Along with the drab olive color scheme, they added gold plating, along with black and white “invasion” stripes like those painted on Allied aircraft during World War II. The stripes were crucial for crews returning to their bases to be identified as friendly aircraft.
When Anderson got his sponsor’s approval to do the design, the wrapper was printed at the race shop and the team applied it to the car. Cars are not painted with a brush or airbrush; they are covered with a decal-like vinyl wrap, precisely cut, then applied to the car like wallpaper.
The finished product included a sticker dedicating the car to the Army Sergeant. 1st Class Jeremy W. Griffin, a Green Beret killed September 2019 in Afghanistan.
DiMascio, who did his own shopping while stationed in Washington State, said he would love to see more opportunities like this present themselves for other Airmen – and, of course, for himself.
“If it was up to me, not only would I be doing my normal job on active duty, but if I could get the Air Force to pay me enough money, I would be racing myself,” he said. he declared.
The #31 Camaro, driven by Myatt Snider, placed 10th out of 38 cars in the Memorial Day weekend Xfinity Series Alsco Uniforms 300 race.