David Pearson's return to Grand National stock car racing has been quite successful so far. The winner of more than $2 million and 103 races on this circuit has been without a Grand National ride since April 8 when he left the Woods Brothers team.
He placed second at Talladega, Ala., and fourth at Michigan Speedway earlier this month after signing on as a temporary replacement for the Osterlund team's rookie, Dale Earnhardt. Pearson was second fastest qualifier at Talladega and pole winner at Michigan.
Earnhardt again will be Osterlund's first driver as soon as his collarbone, broken in a race July 29, mends. A second car may be entered for Pearson in some races after that, the team manager says.
Janet Guthrie's three-race Indianapolis car deal for this year has been completed. Her future in that field is a little cloudy. Guthrie and car owner Sherman Armstrong wound up not too happy with each other.
Guthrie insisted on having her own mechanics service her cars. At Indianapolis, Armstrong had to replace two engines at about $35,000 each in her machine, which then ran five laps in the race. There was another "did not finish" in the Pocono 500.
With Armstrong's crew in charge, she placed fifth at Milwaukee two weeks ago. That ended the deal and the season.
Going into today's Dutch Grand Prix, Jody Scheckter, Ferrari driver, still holds first place in the world road racing championship standing with 38 points. His teammate, Gilles Villeneuve, and Jacques Laffite of the Ligier team, have 32 each.
Hot team in the series right now is Australian Alan Jones and his Williams racer. He has won two straight races. The generous Jones now is sponsoring young New Zealander Mike Thackwell in Formula 3 races and he won his first outing with Jones' backing.
Now it's the Grand Prix motorcycle racers who wish to challenge the Establishment. Some 40 of the world's top road racers, including champion Kenny Roberts of the U.S., intend to set up their own series next year, breaking away from the international federation.
They especially are concerned about the safety of tracks approved by the FIM and about the purses. Roberts, in winning the recent British Grand Prix, earned a $1,000 purse. Riders are paid retainers by factories and receive starting money so the purse, as in Grand Prix auto racing, usually is low.
Roger Penske is reported close to settling on terms to buy Trenton (N.J.) Speedway. His Championship Auto Racing Teams group held two races there this season. The 1.5 mile track has been in operation since 1949.
Another effort to present a handicap auto race will be made today in the $132,000 Lumberman's 500 at Lexington, Ohio. Three classes of road racing cars are eligible with the fastest, the highly modified Can-Am sports racers, going the full 500 miles. The other classes will race from 13 to 30 miles less.