Charlotte, NC (Sports Network) - Long-time motorsports commentator and
reporter Chris Economaki, who was best known as "The Dean of American
Motorsports," died on Friday at the age of 91.
Born on Oct. 20, 1920 in Brooklyn, N.Y., Economaki was regarded as one of the
most respected journalists in motorsports. His career began at the age of 13
when he sold copies of the National Speed Sport News. He eventually took over
as editor and later bought the publication, turning it into a weekly
Economaki, who saw his first race in Atlantic City, N.J. at age 9, served as a
track announcer during the 1950s. He went on to become a commentator at ABC
when the television network began coverage of motorsports on its "Wide World
of Sports" show and special telecasts of the Indianapolis 500.
During his tenure at ABC, Economaki covered such prestigious events as the
Indy 500, the Daytona 500, the Monaco Grand Prix and the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
He covered numerous stock car, sprint car, IndyCar and Formula One events
around the world as well.
In 1984, Economaki joined CBS for its telecast of the Daytona 500 and the
Detroit Grand Prix as well as the network's coverage of the IROC series. He
also served as a contributor for ESPN's coverage of F1 grand prix.
"The passing of Chris Economaki is a tough loss for me on a personal and
professional level, having known Chris throughout my life," NASCAR Chairman
and CEO Brian France said in a statement. "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
Economaki served an analyst for the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Radio
Network's coverage of the Indy 500 from 1995-2009 and its coverage of each
U.S. Grand Prix held at the famed speedway.
"IndyCar and the world of motorsports have lost a true friend with the passing
of Chris Economaki," IndyCar officials said in a statement. "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."
Economaki was preceded in death by his wife, Tommye, and is survived by his
daughters, Corinne and Tina, and two grandchildren. Funeral arrangements for
Economaki are pending.
The Sports Network