I read this book about 15-Mar-2006. This is the first time I've read this book. The book is copyright 1968. This note was last modified Wednesday, 29-Aug-2007 23:46:00 PDT.
This note contains spoilers for the book.
Butterworth is the same author who has written a lot of military stories as W.E.B. Griffin.
This one is a straight racing story. John Owens comes back from Vietnam (as a sergeant) and wants to get into racing, preferably with his father's professional racing outfit. I don't recall that it has any airplanes in it, though John is mentioned as flying back from New York after delivering a car there.
His father is against John driving. By the end of the book I think we've been shown it's because his father is losing his nerve about driving himself. But in the end he hands over team driving duties to his son (after John wins his novice race and his first real race, and runs his own semi-successful racing team on a shoestring for a few months).
Near the end, they both crack up on the same track in the same week (not in the same race), and reconcile when Paul asks John to take over driving duties. There's unresolved questions about John's competence as a racing driver—is he a real natural, or was he lucky? He certainly started driving in serious races very quickly and with no training at all.
There are some tensions, of course; Paul is divorced, and John didn't get on well with his mother's new husband, for one thing. So Paul and John haven't seen that much of other, and John is just back from a combat tour in the Army, which changes people at least twice over. They survive the strains.