The chase, the fight, the hunt: 62nd AMXS Airman hits the raceway

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Whitney Amstutz
  • 62nd Airlift Wing Public Affairs

“You’re out there on the track and you feel the adrenaline,” said Airman 1st Class Sabatino DiMascio, 62nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron communication/navigation mission systems specialist.

“With the wind blowing around you, the smell of the exhaust, the roar of the engine; you can accelerate, break or pass,” he continued, smiling. “You pass a car and you’re immediately focused on the next driver, and the next driver, and the next driver until - if you get the chance - you’re out front. The best part about racing is the chase, the fight, the hunt.”

On duty, DiMascio spends his time working on the C-17 Globemaster III aircraft. Off duty he moonlights as a super late model pit-crew member and hornet racer at Evergreen Speedway.

Basically, DiMascio likes things that go fast.

“Growing up, my dad was a dirt track racer on the east coast and I have memories of watching his races from up in the stands all the way back when I was two years old,” DiMascio explained. “He stopped racing around 2000, but we were always big NASCAR fans. We would go up and down the country going to different races.”

DiMascio’s infatuation with racing grew to full-blown passion when he climbed behind the wheel of a Euro Pro-Kart.

“Think really fast Go-Karts,” DiMascio said, describing Euro Pro-Karts. “I was doing really well in that circuit, but I was never able to move up and start doing it as a career because something always interfered whether it was school, or the sheer start-up costs of getting into racing by yourself.”

It was around that time the Delaware native and former Civil Air Patrol member took an oath, buzzed his hair and headed to Lackland Air Force Base, Texas for Basic Military Training.

“My job is an aircraft maintainer for electronics and avionics such as radios, GPS and anti-missile defense systems,” DiMascio said. “When I was assigned to the communication/navigation career field I thought there was no way I could retain all the information, but it’s something I’ve become attuned to.

“I often think about how amazing it is that my job is the difference between a surface-to-air missile potentially impacting a C-17, but we make sure those countermeasures are ready to be deployed,” DiMascio continued. “It’s incredible.”

A high-octane environment is not the only commonality between DiMascio’s work on the flightline and the work he puts in on the track.

“I work with an extremely talented group of maintainers who know the job and will drop everything to help a fellow Airman,” DiMascio said. “That teamwork is definitely something I carry over to racing.”

Though DiMascio was in the pit rather than the driver seat when his team, Fitzpatrick Racing, won the 2016 street stock championship, according to the newly-minted hornet racer, the victory was just as sweet.

“Having that teamwork, it wasn’t the driver who won the championship last year, it was all of us,” DiMascio said.

DiMascio competed in his first race, April 1, and though his night came to an early and unexpected end after getting a flat tire on the fourth lap, DiMascio had the time of his life.

“I absolutely loved it,” DiMascio said. “There’s just this feeling of being in the zone, and the thrill of taking the green flag in front of thousands of screaming fans that you won’t find anywhere else. You win some, you lose some and you wreck some. That’s just racing.”