Chris Economaki, longtime editor and publisher of National Speedsport News, died this morning at age 91. Economaki’s byline appeared in NSSN for more than 60 years, and his weekly column, “From the Editor’s Notebook,” was required reading for industry insiders and casual fans alike. In addition to his print career, he served as a pit analyst and commentator for ABC CBS and ESPN for four decades, becoming one of the most respected and trusted personalities in the sport.
An “old school” reporter to the end, Economaki was famous for pounding out stories on his Royal upright typewriter in a media center filled with laptop computers. The son of a Greek immigrant father and the great-niece of Confederate General Robert E. Lee, he witnessed his first live auto race on the old Atlantic City board track at age nine. Soon after, he began selling copies of NSSN at race tracks around the northeast, hitchhiking both ways and pocketing a penny for every paper sold. He became a popular columnist and reporter, was later named editor and eventually purchased and oversaw the publication for nearly half a century.
|Rest in peace, Chris|
At the recommendation of NASCAR founder Bill France, Sr., Economaki was chosen to serve on the broadcast team for ABC’s coverage of the 1961 Firecracker 250 at Daytona, the first nationwide broadcast of a NASCAR race. Over the years, his distinctive, nasal delivery and dogged devotion to the facts became a mainstay in the garage areas at NASCAR, CART, IndyCar, Formula One and NHRA events. Once denied admission to the garage area for the lack of a paper credential, Economaki huffed to the gate guard, “Young man, my face is my credential.”
Christopher Constantine Economaki is survived by his daughters, Corinne and Tina, and two grandchildren.
Sirius XM NASCAR Radio will honor Economaki’s life with a special presentation of his Sirius XM Speedway Legends interview, today at 6:25 PM ET on Sirius XM NASCAR Radio, Channel 90.