Defending Grand National stock car champion Dale Earnhardt is on a new team for the rest of the season. His car's owner, Rod Osterlund, sold his cars, parts, garage and contracts to Jim Stacy, a Kentucky coal mine operator, for a reported $2 million. Crew chief Dale Inmam and the Wrangler sponsorship were also part of the deal.

Osterlund, a California real estate man, formed his team in 1978. He signed Earnhardt a year later and the team won the Grand National title last year. They have failed to win this season but Earnhardt ranks fifth in the point standings.

Stacy's career in racing began in 1977. Neil Bonnett, his first driver, won twice. The two split the next year and Stacy became embroiled in lawsuits with his former mechanic, Harry Hyde, and sometime driver Ferrell Harris.

His return to racing this racing came with sponsorships for Joe Ruttman in a few races. The purchase of the Osterlund team is supposed to be the basis for a five-car effort next year.

Running more than a one-car team is unusual in Grand National racing.

Among Indianapolis cars, Mickey Thompson tried to field five cars in the Indy 500 one year but had no intention of maintaining them all season.

The cost of equipment and manpower seems to make a pair of cars the most practical entry in big-time racing today.