The Rocketsports Racing team had a fantastic weekend at Road America, with Alex Tagliani claiming his first ever Champ Car victory and debutant Guy Smith taking a top ten finish.

Tagliani, who had missed first qualifying after crashing the #8 car in practice, could only set the 13th quickest time in qualifying for his 85th Champ Car race but once the green flag fell he was on a charge - a brave strategy and outright speed (coupled with a bit of luck) enough to see him drive through the field to the chequered flag.

"The team worked so hard for this," he said. "They had to repair the car all day Friday and then gearbox troubles put us in 13th in qualifying. We worked to put a good car together for the race and this was really our only trouble-free day. The crew gave me some awesome pit stops and got me out their quickly to keep me ahead of the grid.

"The crew and Paul [Gentilozzi - team boss] guided me with the strategy. When I came in I saw in their faces that they believed I could do it and it was very encouraging. This win is for them and it was only possible with good teamwork.

"To win races you need a fast car, good strategy and a bit of luck. Today we had all the ingredients and it worked for us.

Tagliani's lack of wins in the past isn't for lack of trying, having come close to success on a number of occasions. Now the hurdle of claiming that first win has been overcome, and on a circuit that Tagliani admits owed it to him.

"I've been close to winning so many times and have had some bad luck in the past," he said. "This track, in particular owes me. In 2000 I led many laps, but lost it when the gear shaft broke. I'm glad my first win came here."

The 33 points help Tagliani jump up to third in the standings, ahead of the Forsythe duo Paul Tracy and Patrick Carpentier.

Former Le Mans 24 Hour winner Smith made an impressive debut after working his way up the order from 16th on the grid to finish tenth.

The result saw him finish second in the rookie standings for the Road America event, ahead of current championship leader A.J Allmendinger.

Having only seen the four-mile long track for time on the Wednesday prior to race day, Smith made consistent progress through the weekend, improving his lap times with each session.

With the rest of the season ahead of him to impress team boss Gentilozzi, Smith admitted to being disappointed with tenth - but was pleased to have finished the race in the #17 car.

"My first Champ Car race was all and more than I expected," he said. "It was a tremendous challenge and I'm pleased to have finished, but a little disappointed too. I wanted a better finish, but as it was really only our first weekend working together and as a team, we did reasonably well.

"My goal was to finish the race and take advantage of the yellows late in the race especially because the car got better as the race progressed. The #17 Rocketsports crew gave me a great car that performed well. I'm looking forward to Denver and building on what I've learned today here at Elkhart."