lunes, 27 de mayo de 2013

'Dean of American Motorsports' dies at 91 - USA TODAY

Chris Economaki, known as the "Dean of American Motorsports," died early Friday morning.

He was 91.

"The passing of Chris Economaki is a tough loss for me on both a personal and professional level, having known Chris throughout my life," said Brian France, NASCAR chairman and CEO. "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."

Economaki began selling single copies of National Speed Sport News at 14 and eventually became the publication's editor, a position he held for 60 years.

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Economaki next turned his attention and energies to broadcasting, covering several Indianapolis 500s, Daytona 500s, Formula 1 Grand Prixes and other motorsports events for "ABC Wide World of Sports" in the 1960s. Two decades later, he moved to CBS Sports and later contributed to ESPN and TBS motorsports programming.

"Our hearts are heavy at the loss of Chris Economaki. Chris was a legend of motorsports media and will truly be missed," said Grant Lynch, Talladega Superspeedway chairman.

"He touched so many lives during his time in our sport, not just those he interviewed, but the thousands of readers and viewers who enjoyed his stories. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family during this time."

Four-time Indianapolis 500 winner A.J. Foyt said he met Economaki in the 1950s, when Foyt was running midget cars.

"Economaki meant a whole lot to my career," Foyt said in a statement. "He saw me when I first started and he said I'd be the next one coming up who'd be a good race driver. ... He was a good friend. I really enjoyed his stories and it's a shame to see good writers like him pass on.

"Chris was writing when racing was at its very best. I'm talking about midgets, sprints, dirt cars and Indy cars. He saw the sport grow to where it is today and how it grew, including NASCAR. And he contributed to that growth."

In 2006, the Trackside Conference Room at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Media Center was renamed the Economaki Press Conference Room.

"His accurate, incisive reporting helped increase the audience of the sport and put the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, its events and competitors into the global spotlight. He set a standard for others to follow for generations and will be deeply missed. Our thoughts, sympathies and prayers are with his family and friends," said Jeff Belskus, Indianapolis Motor Speedway Corporation president and chief executive officer, in a statement.

Funeral arrangements are pending.

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