1980 Norton Twin 200 (lost footage of CART PPG IndyCar World Series race; 1980)

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1980norton2001.jpg

Program for the race.

Status: Lost

The 1980 Norton Twin 200 was the sixth race of the 1980 CART PPG IndyCar World Series. Occurring on 20th July at the Michigan International Speedway, the race would ultimately be won by Johnny Rutherford in a Chaparral-Cosworth, following a duel with Penske-Cosworth's Bobby Unser.

Background[edit | edit source]

The 1980 Norton Twin 200 was the 12th running of the event, with the annual race lasting 200 miles.[1] It was one of two 1980 CART PPG IndyCar World Series races to commence at Michigan International Speedway, the other being the Gould Grand Prix,[2] which occurred on 20th September and was won by Mario Andretti.[3] The track would continue hosting IndyCar races until being dropped from the schedule from 2007 onwards after failing to reach a deal with IndyCar's organisers.[4]

Prior to the race, qualifying commenced with Bobby Unser winning the pole position with a speed of 192.488 mph.[1] Directly behind him was Johnny Rutherford, with Penske-Cosworth's Rick Mears lining up third out of 26 competitors.[1]

The Race[edit | edit source]

With the starting order decided, the 1980 Norton Twin 200 commenced on 20th July.[1] Rutherford shot into the lead on the opening lap, holding it for the first 38 laps.[1] He would drop it to Gordon Johncock in a Wildcat-Cosworth on lap 39, who in turn lost it to Unser a lap later.[1] Unser controlled proceedings for the next eleven laps, before a hot potato for the lead occurred, Rutherford leading from laps 51-52, Johncock from 53-56, and McLaren-Cosworth's Tom Sneva from 57-60.[1] Unser would regain the lead on lap 61, holding it for the next eight laps before Rutherford moved by on lap 69.[1]

The battle for the first position would then primarily be between Rutherford and Unser, with the latter achieving an overtake on lap 83.[1] Ultimately, Rutherford had the edge, achieving what was ultimately the final lead change on lap 93.[1] He managed to edge out Unser for the final laps to claim his second Norton Twin 200 victory after the 1978 edition and $21,850 in prize money.[5][1] Unser finished second, with fellow Penske-Cosworth driver Pancho Carter taking third.[1]

Background[edit | edit source]

According to IndyCar on TV, 30 minutes of highlights were televised on the same day by NBC as part of its NBC Sportsworld, alongside the World Women's Powerlifting Championships and Survival of the Fittest.[6] The broadcast has yet to resurface however, and no footage of the race is currently publicly available. It was known that a YouTube video containing highlights of 1979-1981 CART races also included coverage of the race, but said video has since been taken down.[7]

See Also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]