If not for the honor, the national sportsman stock car championship would hardly be worth winning, says Bosco Lowe, the Fairview, N.C., driver now in second place.

"Used to be you could have some fun and win a few dollars, too," he said. Now, you race 45, to 50 times a year and maybe net $4,000 at the end of the season. That $400 starting money the defending champion gets doesn't make that much difference, either. Tracks are dropping this class so there aren't as many races open to you."

Lowe plans to make all the events, racing two or three times a week. A few years ago there were more than 70 title races, but the increasing cost of running the cars, and the higher purses, have moved promoters to drop the class.

Bosco, a nickname he picked up in high school, has two cars with engines to race, along with parts for a third motor. His luck was bad in last week's Mello Yello race at Old Dominion Speedway in Manassas. He went out with engine trouble in five laps.

Reds Kagle is still in racing, full time. The one-legged Lanham river and mechanic now tends Ray Hendrick's sportsman sedan for owner Pete Babb.Hendrick, 50, won the Mello Yello 200 by holding the lead the final 120 laps, beating Morgan Shepherd by 10 lengths.

If Mayor Jane Byrne of Chicago wants to stage a road ace in her city this fall, and she does, it will cost about $3 million to erect barriers, stands, engage safety equipment and put up a purse. Getting a date from a major club also will be a problem. The easiest part will be getting old tires to use as bumpers around the proposed five-mile course. About 25,000 will be needed.

It finally happened at Dorsey (Md.) Speedway. A crash at the crossover during the figure eight race so jammed the tiny infield that the event had to be completed on the quarter-mile oval track. The Dorsey still is a bit dusty because its new clay surface has not fully cured yet. When it does, the track will be as hard as concrete.

Bob Tullius of Herndon's Group 44 team now is third in the International Motor Sport Association's GT over-2.5 Liter (152 cubic inches) class with two wins in his Quaker State TR-8. Drivers in Porsche Carreras lead the division with Group 44's Bill Adam in fourth. i

Englishman John Fitzpatrick, who leads the overall GT class, also will complete in the German GT championship the remainder of this season. He drives a turbocharged Porsche, as do the others among the top 10 scorers in this class.

With 18 of the year's 31 Winston Cup Grand National stock car races completed, point leader Dale Earnhardt has won $276,665, more than he won all last season. Richard Petty's winnings are $235,785 and Darrell Waltrip's $235,560. Cale Yarborough has been the fastest qualifier eight times and has two wins. He is third in total points behind Earnhardt and Petty.

Jack Coburn probably is right when he says, "A lot of these boys couldn't race if it weren't for me." Coburn sells racing parts on credit at Old Dominion and Dorsey. No interest or carrying charges either. "Every week they come by and pay all or part of what they owe. No one's beat me on a tab yet. If one did , I just wouldn't sell on credit any more," he explained.

Islip (N.Y.) Speedway is dead flat and just one-fifth mile around. Rosin sometimes is spread on the turns to help the cars stick to the pavement. A new record around this saucer was set by Lenny Boyd driving a midget racer with a Chevy II engine at 62.3 miles per hour. Boyd probably hit 85 down the straightaway less than 100 yards long.