He came out of the pits as the first driver to make all three of his stops, but found himself in second place after Lavin came out of the pits ahead of him after third stop.
However, Lavin had used all of his allotment of push-to-pass power in making his way to the sharp end of the grid despite the fact that Champ Car officials added an extra 15 seconds to the driver's power bank before the race, giving them 75 seconds of added boost to use.
Tagliani came past the pits in second place as Lavin came out ahead of him, but the Rocketsports man was able to move up the inside into turn five to retake the lead.
There was one final caution period late in the day as a result of three separate incidents. Firstly, Tracy and Junqueira went nose-to-tail on the backstretch only for the pair to make contact that saw Junqueira spin in turn five. The incident would cost Tracy dear as he was served with a drive through penalty, resulting in him finishing the race down in twelfth place.
On the same lap as the two tangled, Alex spun off course while A.J. Allmendinger spun and stopped on the backstretch.
With only two laps to go at the restart, Tagliani got the jump on the field and rolled away from Lavin, with Bourdais having worked his way back up the ladder to score the third spot. Haberfeld was holding down the fourth spot, fighting off furious challenges from Hunter-Reay and Mario Dominguez but went off course on the penultimate lap -losing seven places as a result.
The misstep promoted Hunter-Reay to the fourth spot while Dominguez rounded out the top five, giving the Herdez Competition squad its first double top-five of the season. Bourdais' podium finish gave him the largest lead of the year in the Champ Car World Series, as the Frenchman has built a commanding 47-point lead over Junqueira after eight events. However he admitted the race had been bizarre.
“Well, I don't really know what to think about this race really because there have been so many things that I don't know what happened myself,” he said. “All I know is we were leading the race. Then this yellow came out at the wrong moment. I got passed by a couple of people; I passed a bunch of people. And here I am on the podium, and I have no idea what happened in between.”
Justin Wilson finished the race as top rookie in seventh, while sportscar driver Guy Smith claimed a top ten finish on his Champ Car debut.