Gordon Johncock, who won the Indianapolis 500 in May, captured the $500,000 Norton Michigan 500 in Brooklyn, Mich., yesterday, surviving a grueling race punctuated by caution flags and crashes that took out A.J. Foyt and Rick Mears.
Both Foyt and Mears were running up front with Johncock and second-place finisher Mario Andretti when the accidents occurred. Foyt suffered minor injuries and Mears was not hurt.
Foyt, trying to win his first Indy car race since being seriously injured here a year ago, was running fourth on the 148th lap of the 250-lap event when Hector Rebacque, running well off the pace, veered to his right. Rebacque's car dove right into the left-front of Foyt's No. 14 March, smashing Foyt hard into the concrete wall. Rebacque, an Indy-car rookie from Mexico, was not injured, but the 47-year-old Foyt, who suffered a concussion and a serious arm injury last July in a crash in the second turn, this time came away with only a puncture wound of his left leg and a sore right ankle. Mears, who had led several times, suddenly veered into the wall on the 184th lap when he blew a tire.
In Brands Hatch, England, Austrian Niki Lauda in a McLaren won the British Grand Prix with an average speed of 124.7 mph for the 198.63-mile course. France's Didier Pironi was second in a Ferrari turbo, to take a five-point lead in the 1982 World Championship over Britain's John Watson, who spun out early in the race. Next was Pironi's French teammate Patrick Tambay, who took third place on the last lap from the Lotus of Italian Elio de Angelis.