Seven-time NASCAR Cup Series Champion Jimmie Johnson and his sponsor Ally gave troops a virtual sneak peek at the military-themed paint scheme he’ll drive in the Memorial Day weekend race in Charlotte as part of a tribute to military heroes.
With 16 military service members participating in a video conference Friday, Johnson thanked the troops for their service, answered questions and previewed the olive drab paint scheme. During the virtual gathering, Johnson was joined by Ally’s David Shevsky, chief operating officer for Auto Finance, and they announced a $20,000 donation to the USO of North Carolina’s Protect the Force 2020 initiative to help support military families facing additional difficulties because of the pandemic. Johnson and Ally are each donating $10,000 to the USO’s charitable fund. Troops participating in the videoconference are stationed in North Carolina, representing the Air Force, Coast Guard, Army, Air National Guard and USO.
“Memorial Day is a special time and I’m so thankful that everyone associated with NASCAR puts out a big effort for all the men and women who have served our country. Both my grandfathers served and my brother-in-law served,” Johnson said. “To have Corporal Deans on my car and run a special paint scheme is a big honor for me to recognize the individual, and all those who have lost a loved one.”
As part of the NASCAR Salutes initiative to recognize fallen soldiers during Sunday’s 600-mile race at Charlotte Motor Speedway, Army Corporal Patrick Deans of Winter Garden, Fla., will be honored with his name memorialized on the windshield of the No. 48 Ally Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE.
The special Memorial Day weekend paint scheme for the No. 48 race car swaps the traditional Ally colors of brightly contrasting plum, black and grapefruit pink with a subtle olive drab color, white military stenciled numbers and exposed rivets inspired by WWII military vehicles.
“The ‘600 miles of remembrance’ Memorial weekend race is a very public tribute to the service and sacrifice made by so many Americans from all the military branches,” said Shevsky, an Air Force veteran and leader of the Ally Veterans employee resource group, which provides support to veterans within Ally and its communities. “With the donation to the USO’s Protect the Force 2020 initiative, we hope to help ease the hardships faced by military families as their loved ones work to protect Americans from new, public health threats at home as well as enemies abroad.”
About Corporal Patrick Deans
Corporal Deans served in the 101st Airborne Division and made the ultimate sacrifice for his country on December 12, 2010, in Afghanistan when a suicide bomber attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device, killing five other soldiers and wounding 11 others. Cpl. Deans was assigned to 2nd Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), based in Fort Campbell, Ky. He was the recipient of the Bronze Star Medal, the Purple Heart, Army Commendation Medal, Army Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal with Bronze Service Star, Iraq Campaign Medal with Bronze Service Star, and the Combat Infantryman Badge. Deans was born Dec. 14, 1987, in Beaufort, S.C.
About a month prior to his death, Corporal Deans wrote the following on his Facebook page:
“A Veteran is someone, who at one point in their life wrote a blank check payable to the United States of America for an amount up to, and including, their life. That is beyond honor, and there are way too many people in this country who no longer remember that fact.”
— Ally —