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The motorsports world lost one of, if not the greatest, of motorsports journalists Friday morning. Chris Economaki, known as the “Dean of American Motorsports,” died at the age of 91.
Economaki got started in auto racing journalism early on, selling National Speed Sport News by the age of 13. He worked his way up the ranks at NSSN, becoming editor in 1950. He remained in that position for some 60 years, serving as editor until the publication ceased printing in 2010.
Economaki’s motorsports work wasn’t limited to National Speed Sport News, though, as he also worked motorsports events for ABC’s “Wide World of Sports.” In that capacity, he covered such events as the Indianapolis 500 and Daytona 500. Other television work included “SpeedWeek” on ESPN and “Motorweek Illustrated” on TBS.
Here are some of the statements that poured out from throughout the motorsports community upon Economaki’s passing:
IndyCar—“IndyCar and the world of motorsports have lost a true friend with the passing of Chris Economaki. The Dean of American motorsports journalists, Chris dedicated most of his life to reporting the sport of auto racing and telling the stories of the heroes of our sport. He was truly one of a kind. We send our thoughts and condolences to his family, friends and colleagues.”
NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France—“The passing of Chris Economaki is a tough loss for me on both a personal and professional level, having known Chris throughout my life. Many people consider Chris the greatest motorsports journalist of all time. He was, indeed, ‘the Dean.’ Chris was a fixture for years at NASCAR events, and played a huge role in growing NASCAR’s popularity. I’ll miss seeing him and, of course, I’ll miss hearing that voice. Our thoughts and prayers are with his daughters, Corinne and Tina, and the rest of Chris’ family.”
Ford Motor Co. Board of Directors member Edsel B. Ford II—“All of us at Ford Motor Company are sorry to hear of Chris Economaki’s passing last night. He was an icon of the sport of auto racing and a familiar, knowledgeable face and voice to millions of race fans around the world. His influence on the growth of auto racing in the United States cannot be underestimated. National Speed Sport News covered everything from the greatest drivers around the globe to the local short trackers who competed for their families and fans around this country. Chris respected and loved them all, and they loved him back.”
Chevrolet US Vice President of Performance Vehicles and Motorsports Jim Campbell—“Chris Economaki made an impact in motorsports like no other. He was a trailblazer in journalism, and his passion and depth of knowledge across the spectrum of world-wide racing brought the sport to life for millions of fans. His contributions have been endless, and he will be deeply missed. The thoughts and prayers of everyone at Chevrolet and Cadillac Racing are with his family and friends.”
Rest in peace and God speed, Chris Economaki
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