Fourth and fifth for John Watson (McLaren) and reigning World Champion Jody Scheckter (Ferrari) respectively would prove to be their best results of otherwise difficult seasons for the Grand Prix winners.
Sadly, Long Beach 1980 will also be remembered for the dreadful accident that befell another Grand Prix veteran and F1 hero, Clay Regazzoni. The Swiss ace, who’d tasted F1 success for the first time just two races before Fittipaldi 10 years earlier and lined up alongside him that day in Long Beach, suffered a stuck throttle in his Ensign N180 on the long start-finish straight and cannoned off the parked Brabham of Ricardo Zunino. Regazzoni was paralysed in the impact with the tyres in the escape road, bringing an end to his 132-GP career of this popular racer.
US Grand Prix (West), 1980
1. Nelson Piquet (BR) – Brabham BT49-Cosworth, 80 laps
2. Riccardo Patrese (I) – Arrows A3-Cosworth, 80 laps
3. Emerson Fittipaldi (BR) – Fittipaldi F7-Cosworth, 80 laps
4. John Watson (GB) – McLaren M29C-Cosworth, 79 laps
5. Jody Scheckter (SA) – Ferrari 312T5, 79 laps
6. Didier Pironi (F) – Ligier JS11/15-Cosworth, 79 laps
Images courtesy of LAT