09/28/12 The Dean of American Motorsports Journalism has died. Chris Economaki, who began selling single copies of National Speed Sport News at age 14 and eventually became the publication's editor, a position he held for 60 years, died early [Friday] morning at age 91. His column, the Editor's Notebook, was the most read feature in National Speed Sport News for six decades, and while Economaki's contribution has been minimal in recent years, the Notebook, as it is called by readers, continues to be the most meaningful read in the newspaper, which debuted in 1934 when Economaki was 13 years old.
Economaki was also well known for his unique, recognizable voice, which he used first as a track announcer and later through nearly 40 years on television. He worked with ABC's Wide World of Sports, he was with CBS and ESPN, and it can be said he was one of the catalysts in bringing racing to television. It is not an oversimplification to say he knew racing and knew how to speak about it. Economaki worked races around the world for ABC through the 1983 season when he made the jump to CBS where he appeared through the mid 1990s.
He also worked worldwide Formula One telecasts for ESPN in 1987 and 1988. Through the years Economaki has received countless awards including the NASCAR Award of Excellence, and been elected to numerous Halls of Fame, most notably the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America, National Sprint Car Hall of Fame and National Midget Auto Racing Hall of Fame. He was preceded in death by his wife Tommye and is survived by his two daughters – Corinne and Tina – and two grandchildren. Arrangements are pending. National Speed Sport News