Alabama voters combined their passions for football and politics Tuesday to catapult a newcomer ahead of the pack in the race for the governor's office to be vacated by George O. Wallace.

Fob James, a millionaire industrialist whose chances were ignored by the political "experts," emerged in a runoff with tough-talking Attorney General Bill Baxley for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination. The Republican primary drew a light turnout; a Republican has not won a major office in Alabama in 100 years.

In other races, Sen. Maryon Allen, widow of Sen. James B. Allen, faces a runoff with state Sen. Donald Stewart. Allen received 43 percent of the vote, Stewart 35 percent. The rest was split among five candidates.

In the race for the Senate seat being vacated by John J. Sparkman, former state supreme court chief justice Howell Heflin received 47 percent of the vote and led Rep. Walter Flowers, who had 31 percent, with about two-thirds of the precincts reporting.

The runoff election for all seats is Sept. 26.

Pre-election polls showed the Democratic gubernational race was being dominated by former governor Albert Brewer. However, Brewer ran third in a 10-man field.

A star Auburn halfback in the 1950s, James rarely used his real name, Forrest Hood James Jr. Fob, his boyhood name, stuck even after he graduated from Auburn and established a firm to make plastic-covered dumbbells.

He sold his plant to a conglomerate and, 18 months ago, began running for governor. To coordinate his campaign he hired Deloss Walker of Memphis, who has won statewide races with unknown candidates in southern states 37 times in 39 attempts.

Without appearing profligate, James has never seemed to lack for money. He campaign was punctuated by unusual features such as team information pamphets at the season-opening Alabama-Nebraska football game, always a big event in Alabama.

On Labor Day, the afternoon before election, the highway down which Montgomeryians retired to the capital from nearby recreational lakes was lined for seven miles with smiling, sign-waving James advocates.

Bill Baxley, the energetic state attorney general who recently prosecuted a former Birmingham Ku Klux Klasman for church bombings in the 1980s, had aimed his heaviest campaign guns at Brewer. He concentrated on $400,000 put into Brewer's campaign, 10 years ago by aides to Richard M. Nixon when Brewer was running against Wallace. Wallace was then viewed as a threat to Nixon.

Both Baxley and James called on Wallace in the governor's mansion yesterday as they prepared for their three-week runoff campaign. Prior to the primary, Wallace issued no public endorsement but let it be known that he favored Baxley over his old enemy, Brewer. His son, George Jr., is a Baxley aide.

An indication of Wallace's approval would be more desirable than ever for Baxley with James unexpectedly in the runoff, and leading at that. Brewer's constitutency, now without a candidate, includes the same kind of establishment businessmen to whom James appeals.

Voters also went to the polls in North Dakota on Tuesday. However, neither Sen. Milton R. Young (R) nor Sen. Quentin N. Burdick (D) is up for reelection, and the two candidates running for the at-large congressional seat were unopposed.

Following are the winning congressional candidates in Tuesday's primaries. Incumbents are indicated with an (I); candidates without opposition are indicated with an X. ALABAMA

1ST DISTRICT

Democrat: L. W. (Red) Noonan.

A-Republican: Jack Edwards (I).

2ND DISTRICT

Democrat: Wendell Mitchell.

A-Republican: William L. Dickinson (I).

3RD DISTRICT

x-Democrat: Bill Nichols (I).

Republican: No candidates.

4TH DISTRICT

Democrat: Tom Bevill (I).

Republican: No candidates.

5TH DISTRICT

Democrat: Ronnie G. Flippo (I).

Republican: No candidates.

6TH DISTRICT

Democrat: Don Hawkins.

Republican: John H. Buchanan Jr. (I).

7TH DISTRICT

Democrat: Runoff - Richard Shelby vs. Chris McNair.

Republican: Jim Scruggs. NORTH DAKOTA

AT-LARGE

X-Democratic: Bruce Hagen.

X-Republican: Mark Andrews (I).