Friends, Just weeks before his 92nd birthday, Chris Economaki, The Dean of Motorsports, passed away this morning. Many of today’s writers, pr reps and marketing types know of Chris in name only -- his name graces the media centers of some of the most important race tracks in the country including that of Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Although it saddens me to learn of his passing, I have to say he enjoyed his life and I don’t believe he had too many regrets because he really lived his life to the fullest, and he always enjoyed a good glass of wine. Amen to that!
And now to my job…below are thoughts from A.J. who said he first met Chris when he was running midgets in the ‘50s. Chris knew A.J. way before he became The A.J. Foyt.
A.J. Foyt: “Chris Economaki meant a whole lot to my career. 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 wrote, You will read about this boy. I don’t remember if it was Ted Horn or who, but he compared me a couple times to these old greats which I felt very honored. I think he respected me and I respected him. He was a good friend. I really enjoyed his stories and it’s a shame to see good writers like him pass on.
"To be honest, 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. I’d say when he was in his heyday of writing that more people would read his column than any column that’s been written today by far—I know I did. And I’m not the only person who says that. He really knew what he was writing about and he understood the sport in every field of it because he came through all the different types of racing. Today’s writers haven’t done that and they don’t understand racing like Chris did.
Sometimes you didn’t agree with all his articles, but one thing about it, you might not agree today when he wrote it but in the next two or three weeks what he said happened, so you have to give him credit.”
Source: A.J. Foyt Racing