Sebastien Bourdais scored his 31st and final Champ Car win in wonderfully decisive fashion, and showed his human side with tears on the podium while being interviewed.
The Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing ace took the lead from Will Power into Turn 1 just a lap before their first pitstops, and thereafter pulled away - sometimes by fractions of a second, sometimes by whole seconds.
He then survived a late full course yellow for debris and a stopped car, and saved enough of his depleted Power-to-Pass to prevent a challenge from the Team Australia car. He passed the chequered flag with a lead of less than two seconds.
His 31st victory ties him with Al Unser Jr and long time nemesis Paul Tracy in sixth place in the all-time Champ Car winners' list. Incredibly, though, the French ace, who joins the Scuderia Toro Rosso Formula One team next year, has achieved his tally in just five seasons.
In third place today came Oriol Servia for PKV Racing, who made great progress through the field after becoming one of three cars (the others being Alex Tagliani of Rocketsports and Nelson Philippe of Conquest Racing) to stall on the grid.
With a clearly quick car, Servia carved through the field yet still had 60 seconds of Power-to-Pass left for the final sprint to the flag. On the restart he followed Tracy's Forsythe Championship Racing car past Simon Pagenaud (Team Australia), then passed Tracy on the same lap.
The following lap the PKV car outbraked Graham Rahal for third, but had no time or overboost left to close in on Power.
Rahal just held off Tracy and Pagenaud to the chequered flag after one of his best races. He showed great pace in the early stages of the race to climb from seventh on the grid to third.
Seventh place fell to the Pacific Coast Motorsports car of Mario Dominguez who held off Bruno Junqueira (Dale Coyne Racing) and the second PKV machine of Neel Jani.
Justin Wilson was hassling Bourdais in the early stages but lost fuel pressure, which put him out of the reckoning for the remainder of the afternoon, as the RuSPORT crew had to keep his fuel level above 12 gallons in order to run cleanly. As a result he had to make several pitstops.
Dan Clarke had a transmission problem that slowed him on the formation lap, and then halted him altogether on the first lap (which was run under yellow because of the stalled cars).
His Minardi Team USA teammate Robert Doornbos had a mechanical problem soon afterwards, but he was later sent out many laps down to set fastest lap. He did this comprehensively, leaning on his Power-to-Pass and setting a time 1.3 seconds faster than the next fastest.
That second fastest lap time fell to Mexican star David Martinez, who drove very well in the first half of the race until he too fell victim to mechanical maladies.
Pos Driver Team Time
1. Sebastien Bourdais Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing 1h45:02.885
2. Will Power Team Australia + 1.906
3. Oriol Servia PKV Racing + 3.300
4. Graham Rahal Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing + 7.346
5. Paul Tracy Forsythe Championship Racing + 8.593
6. Simon Pagenaud Team Australia + 9.648
7. Bruno Junqueira Dale Coyne Racing + 15.823
8. Mario Dominguez Pacific Coast Motorsports + 16.077
9. Neel Jani PKV Racing + 16.199
10. Justin Wilson RuSPORT + 16.954
11. Alex Figge Pacific Coast Motorsports + 1 Lap
12. Nelson Philippe Conquest Racing + 1 Lap
13. Alex Tagliani Rocketsports Racing + 2 Laps
14. David Martinez Forsythe Championship Racing + 6 Laps
Driver Team Laps
Katherine Legge Dale Coyne Racing 56
Robert Doornbos Minardi Team USA 12
Dan Clarke Minardi Team USA 0