Economaki kept it old school at the 500, banging out his column on an old Olympia typewriter.
Tim Sullivan, Indianapolis Motor Speedway public relations, kept the Olympia in storage, and put back in Economaki's spot year after year, waiting for the Dean to show up.
Economaki, who died in 2012, never bothered to learn how to use a computer.
He wrote everything on a typewriter, even when everyone else in the media was tapping away on laptops.
I conceptualized of the artificially generated stampede in March of 2011.
After much deliberation about how to proceed, I finally decided it was morally acceptable to write a book about it. But make no mistake about it, writing this book was my civic duty.
During my first year at the 500, I spotted the typewriter, asked Sullivan whose it was, and he told me about Economaki. One of the other things I love doing is being in the places of cultural history, treading the same ground that other notable figures from history have walked on.
Economaki's career in motorsports journalism started when he sold copies of the National Speed Sport News newspapers at age to 13, becoming a columnist a year later, and finally becoming the editor by the time he was 30.I'm a bit of a journalism geek, reading past works sports writers and columnists like Roger Angell, the New Yorker's revered baseball writer; Studs Terkel, broadcaster and author; and, Mike Royko, Chicago newspaper columnist, and the reason I became a newspaper columnist myself.So I've been interested in the history and legacy of Economaki, and what he's done for motorsports.I even suggested putting it in an acrylic case and putting it on display in the press conference room, but in the end, he decided to put it back into Chris' seat, in the "pole position" of the media center, and put up a little sign next to it.Coverage of the Indianapolis 500 and the entire world of auto racing, is what it is because of Chris Economaki.