DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. The late Chris Economaki was named winner of the NASCAR Hall of Fame’s Squier-Hall Award for NASCAR Media Excellence on Saturday. Economaki was editor, publisher and columnist for National Speed Sport News for more than 60 years and was a longtime motorsports broadcaster. He died in 2012 at age 91.
Other finalists for the award were writer-historian Russ Catlin, writer Shav Glick, former Observer writer Tom Higgins, commentator Bob Jenkins, writer Bob Moore, writer Benny Phillips and photographer T. Taylor Warren.
Economaki will be honored at the hall of fame’s induction ceremonies in January in Charlotte.
Track stars: It was a big day for celebrities at Daytona International Speedway. Singer Sheryl Crow gave a prerace concert, and actress Alyssa Milano was there to push a new NASCAR clothing line for women.
Grand marshals Adam Sandler, Kevin James and Shaquille O’Neal also found time to publicize their new movie “Grown Ups 2.”
O’Neal, who said Danica Patrick is his favorite driver, weighed in on Dwight Howard’s decision Friday to sign with the Houston Rockets.
“It was expected,” O’Neal said of Howard’s move from the Los Angeles Lakers. “We’ve all been in L.A., and not a whole lot of people can handle being under the bright lights. Everybody wants to do it, but when you get there, there are certain pressures. I think it was a safe move for him to go to a little town like Houston.
“That’s right, ‘little town.’ I said it.”
Charlotte native Charlie Duke, the 10th man to walk on the moon, also attended the race and was at the prerace drivers meeting.
Dash 4 Cash: Elliott Sadler will be joined by Austin Dillon, Kyle Larson and Sam Hornish Jr. at New Hampshire next week as the next eligible drivers for the Nationwide Series “Dash 4 Cash” bonus competition.
Sadler won $100,000 in the first race at Daytona on Friday and is the only driver eligible for the $1 million bonus when the four-race program ends at Indianapolis.
Sadler, Dillon, Larson and Hornish were the top four Nationwide points-eligible finishers at Daytona, allowing them to move into the next round at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.