Family, Friends, Icons Pay Last Respects

MIDLAND PARK, N.J. — The family and friends of Chris Economaki were joined by heavy hitters from the motorsports industry Tuesday morning at the Nativity Church here, paying their final respects to the Dean of American Motorsports Journalism.

Economaki, who was well known for his more than 60 years as editor of National Speed Sport News and for his decades of work on television with ABC, CBS and ESPN, died Sept. 28 at age 91.

With four-time Indianapolis 500 winner A.J. Foyt among the pallbearers, Economaki was celebrated with a Catholic Mass presided over by longtime open-wheel racing supporter Father Phil DeRea.

The ceremony concluded with Ken Squier, a colleague of Economaki during his days working races on CBS, and a longtime friend of the family, presenting a Eulogy that not only recognized Economaki’s role in the motorsports and journalism role, but provided moments of levity with the telling of two of Economaki’s funnier stories.

In the end, Squier said Economaki “not only knew what the readers wanted, but he could tell the readers why it was important to them.”

And it was important to many in the industry to pay their final respects. IndyCar and NASCAR team owner Roger Penske was on hand as was his longtime employee Walt Czarnecki. Drivers David Donohue, Skip Barber and Drew Fornoro (and his wife Anne) were among those in attendance while New Hampshire Motor Speedway President Jerry Gappens, Rockingham Dragway owner Steve Earwood and IndyCar’s Steve Shunk were also on hand.

Mario Andretti and team owner Rob Dyson and Pocono Raceway’s Dr. Rose Mattioli were among those who paid their respects on Monday evening.

Others on hand included Larry Foyt, Dan Luginbuhl, Criag Agan, Lynn Paxton, A.B Shuman, David Hobbs, veteran motorsports marketing executives Tom Cotter and Steve Potter and former CART communications director John Chuhran.
The guests were greeted by Economaki’s daughters, Corinne and Tina.

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