CONCORD, N.C. — In the continuing evolution of the North Carolina Motorsports Ass’n, the NCMA Board of Directors announced it has hired Corinne Economaki as executive director while interim executive director Andy Papathanassiou has accepted a seat on the board of directors.
“Andy has done an incredible job advancing NCMA’s mission and we can’t thank him enough for the time and energy he has put in to building the Association, and he’s done so well, we’ve grown to the point where we need a solely dedicated executive director,” said NCMA Chairman and Rockingham Dragway owner, Steve Earwood. “The board is elated that we are able to bring someone with Corinne’s credentials to NCMA, and keep Andy involved as part of our board of directors. This move certainly fortifies the NCMA’s future and the future of motorsports in the state of North Carolina.”
Having served as publisher of the stalwart motorsports publication, National Speed Sport News, for almost two decades, Economaki is no stranger to motorsports. In 1985, she joined NSSN as advertising coordinator after a career in marketing and restaurant management. Economaki worked her way to assistant publisher and became publisher in 1990, where she served continuously until 2001. During that time, she oversaw the newspaper’s relocation from New Jersey to North Carolina. After a five-year hiatus, she retook the reins in 2006, and led the company through the financial crisis of 2009 before ceasing operations in April 2011. As the daughter of the “Dean of American Motorsports Journalism” Chris Economaki, she grew up in the industry and understands the nuances of the motorsports business.
“The NCMA has done a great deal to enhance the business of the people and entities involved in motorsports in North Carolina, and I look forward to building on that foundation,” said Economaki. “I am flattered to be chosen by the board to direct the next phase of the association.”
Papathanassiou has served as interim NCMA executive director since 2006 in addition to his position at Hendrick Motorsports. He is credited with revolutionizing how NASCAR pit crews perform — bringing the mentality of athletic training and coaching to the sport. A former Stanford football player, Papathanassiou has been coaching pit crews at Hendrick Motorsports since 1992. At the NCMA, he has been a staunch supporter of NCMA’s mission to promote the $6 billion motorsports industry in the state. Under his tenure, the NCMA expanded to include networking functions and educational programs as well as a yearly banquet in order to recognize the contributions of successful businesses and influential individuals within the industry.
“It has been our goal from day one to grow the association to the point where this transition became necessary,” said Papathanassiou. “With Corinne available and interested in the position, the timing couldn’t have been better. The NCMA has brought me a wealth of industry experience to go along with my view from the competition side. I tried to make a difference and I’m honored to continue those efforts as a member of the board. A big thank you to our dedicated staff through the years.”BREAKING NEWS: SPEED SPORT is back in print with a new monthly format! Subscribe for just $24.95. Special offer for former subscribers.