Sebastien Bourdais took his fifth victory of the Champ Car season to extend his lead at the top of the drivers standings after a stunning drive in the Grand Prix of Denver.
The Frenchman was involved in an incident at the first corner that dropped him down the order, before he produced an assured drive to hit the front in the closing stages of the race.
Starting from pole position, Bourdais headed into the first corner battling for position with Newman Haas teammate Bruno Junqueira, only for the two touch as the Brazilian tried to take the lead round the outside. While he was able to continue in the lead, Bourdais span, dropping down the field to 13th.
Also in trouble at the first corner were Alex Tagliani, Rodolfo Lavin and Nelson Philippe, making a return to the series with Mi-Jack in place of Alex Sperafico. The trio tripped over each other at the start and five cars were forced to pit at the end of the first lap as the race ran under a full course yellow.
Having kept his car pointing the right way, Junqueira held first place as the race went green with reigning series champion Paul Tracy following in second and Patrick Carpentier up into third, narrowly ahead of Mario Dominguez.
As Junqueira slowly eased out a small gap over Tracy, the man on the move was Bourdais. By lap ten he had made it upto eighth, and was into the top five by the time the first pitstops were made.
Those first pit stops saw the second lead change of the day as Tracy was able to save enough fuel to allow his Forsythe Championship Racing team to get him out in front of Junqueira on lap 40.
Tracy would hold the lead for the next 40 laps and appeared to have things well in hand as he chased the win. Dominguez was only four seconds off the lead after making an inside pass on Junqueira in turn five, a move brought about as Junqueira was suffering brake problems with his car.
Bourdais meanwhile had beaten Oriol Servia out of the pits on his stop to claim fourth, before he too found a way past Junqueira to take the final place on the podium. However, he was still eleven seconds behind the leaders with 25 laps to go.