Friday, September 28, 2012

Chris Economacki (1920-2012)

He was known as the "Dean of American motorsports", covering everything from the Indianapolis & Daytona 500's to demolition derbies in a broadcast & print journalism career that spanned 6 decades after deciding at a young age that driving competitively just wasn't for him. Today, the auto racing world is mourning the passing of Chris Economacki, who passed away earlier today at 91.

Economacki, the son of a Greek immigrant, regularly was a commentator on auto racing for ABC, CBS, TBS, & ESPN beginning in 1961, and, yes, that included covering demolition derbies when ABC felt they could fill air time on Wide World of Sports. I kid you not. I've watched those events as a kid. Economacki also did some radio work for the Indianapolis Motor Speedway's radio network, covering the Indy 500, mostly with analysis & essays, a la CBS' horse racing analyst-essayist Heywood Hale Bruin.

Economacki even put his experience to good use in the movies, appearing as himself as a pit reporter in "Six Pack" (w/Kenny Rogers) & "Stoker Ace" (w/Burt Reynolds). He was inducted into the National Midget Auto Racing Hall of Fame, and won a number of prestigious awards, including being the first recipient of the Patrick Jacquemart Award in 1982.

Rest in peace, Chris. You will be missed.

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