Legendary auto racing announcer Chris Economaki, who was known as "The Dean of American Motorsports," died Friday at age 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," NASCAR chairman 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 that voice. Our thoughts and prayers are with his daughters Corinne and Tina and the rest of Chris' family."
Indycar also issued a statement: "INDYCAR and the world of motorsports have lost a true friend with the passing of Chris Economaki. 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."
Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., Economaki saw his first race at age 9. He began selling copies of the National Speed Sport News at age of 13, and became editor of that publication in 1950. He went on to become a commentator for ABC's "Wide World of Sports," covering several Indianapolis 500s, Daytona 500s and other forms of racing.