Chris Economaki To Receive NCMA Award

Chris Economaki interviews A.J. Foyt for ABC several years ago. (NSSN Archives Photo)
Chris Economaki interviews A.J. Foyt for ABC several years ago. (NSSN Archives Photo)

CONCORD, N.C. — The North Carolina Motorsports Ass’n will honor NSSN’s Chris Economaki with the organization’s first Motorsports Media Recognition Award.

The NCMA will also honor legendary driver and team owner Junior Johnson with the 2011 Achievement in Motorsports Tribute Award during the fifth annual NCMA Motosports Industry Awards Banquet Jan. 21.

Past recipients of the award have included Benny Parsons (2007), Richard Petty (2008), Richard Childress (2009) and Dale Earnhardt (2010).

Economaki began selling copies of National Speed Sport News when he was just 13 years old. He slowly worked his way up the ladder, eventually becoming editor, publisher and owner of the paper.

The 90-year-old New Jersey native has worked as a commentator, pit reporter and journalist, earning him the title “The Dean of American Motorsports.” When the NCMA’s awards banquet committee determined it would include a media award into the program, Chris Economaki was a clear choice.

Robert Johnson, Jr., otherwise known as Junior Johnson, began his racing career by running moonshine through the hills of North Carolina. Soon he turned his driving skills into a career, winning 50 races as a driver and the second running of the Daytona 500.

He retired as a driver in 1966 and turned his focus to the ownership side of NASCAR, where he won six NASCAR championships with Cale Yarborough (1976-1978) and Darrell Waltrip (1981-1982, 1985) to go along with 139 victories.

The NCMA also announced seven companies ranging from tracks, education, media, suppliers and manufacturers that will be recognized at the upcoming banquet for their contributions to the motorsports industry in North Carolina.

Those organizations include North Carolina’s North Wilkesboro Speedway, the Winston-Salem State University Motorsports Management Program, the NASCAR Media Group, U.S. Legend Cars Int’l, Piedmont Racing Expo, Essex Parts Services and Goodridge USA.