German driver Rolf Stommelen died of injuries suffered when his sports car crashed midway though the Los Angeles Times-Datsun Grand Prix of Endurance. Stommelen's Porsche 935 lost its left front wheel on the 96th lap of the 6 1/2-hour race and flipped over several times before catching fire.

The race was won by John Fitzpatrick of San Diego, David Hobbs of Great Britain and British relief driver Derek Bell. Ironically, the car driven by Stommelen, a three-time winner of the Daytona 24 Hour endurance race, had been provided by Fitzpatrick. When Stommelen crashed, Fitzpatrick was too upset to continue and was replaced by Bell . . .

At Martinsville, Va., two-time national champion Darrell Waltrip took control midway through the $218,310 Virginia National Bank 500 Grand National and won his second race in as many weeks.

Battling intermittent rain and caution flags brought on by a number of collisions, Waltrip finished three lengths ahead of Harry Gant.

Waltrip remained on the track with 14 laps to go when both Gant and Bobby Allison pitted. He was able to outrun both to the end; Allison finished third, just behind Gant.

Fourth was Joe Ruttman, who appeared to be rammed on the last lap by fifth-place finisher Ricky Rudd. A scuffle was said to have broken out between Ruttman's pit crew and Rudd after the race, but it was broken up before police arrived.