A.J. Allmendinger Scores Fourth Champ Car Win in Denver
 
 

DENVER(August 13, 2006) - Years from now, Champ Car World Series fans are going to look at the box score of today's Grand Prix of Denver Sponsored by Bridgestone, see A.J. Allmendinger winning by a cavernous 20 seconds, and figure that the race was a ho-hum affair. They couldn't be further from the truth. Today's 97-lap battle on the Denver streets featured more plot twists than an Alfred Hitchcock film, with a climax that was as unexpected as anything Hollywood's finest film makers could create. But while last-lap fireworks wreaked havoc throughout the finishing order, nothing could touch the man at the front as Allmendinger hung a 20-second margin of victory on the field to take his fourth win of the year.

The Californian led a race-high 45 laps on his way to the win and vaulted into second place in the championship with four races remaining. Allmendinger beat Bruno Junqueira to the line to score the win, with Junqueira and CTE Racing - HVM rookie Dan Clarke taking the second and third spots on the podium respectively. Junqueira and Clarke appeared content to settle for top-five finishes but were promoted to the podium when Paul Tracy and points leader Sebastien Bourdais crashed in the final turn of the final lap as Bourdais tried to pass Tracy for second place. The incident dropped Tracy to sixth and Bourdais to seventh, Bourdais did gain 1 point on second place due to Justin Wilson's sub-par 8th place finish.

The day started much as it ended, with Tracy and San Jose foe Alex Tagliani tangling in Turn One. Tagliani, starting fifth, came up the inside of Turn One and clipped Tracy's rear wheel, ending Tagliani's day with suspension failure and dropping Tracy from fourth to 15th. Bourdais held the lead over Allmendinger and Wilson but all eyes were on the rampaging Tracy, who needed just 10 green-flag laps to climb from 15th to sixth. Bourdais led the first 20 laps of the day before handing the reins to Junqueira, who was the only driver in the field to run a full stint on his first set of tires. Junqueira paced the next 11 laps before handing things back to Bourdais on Lap 32.

Allmendinger used three quick laps to erase Bourdais' lead, closing on his rear wing just before the second and last caution flag flew for debris. Allmendinger chased Bourdais around the 1.657-mile Denver street course for the next nine laps after the restart, closing in and making the pass on the inside of Turn One on Lap 48. Meanwhile, Tracy completed his charge from the back of the field, setting his sights on Bourdais after slipping by Justin Wilson for third. Tracy tried to get Bourdais for second and ran a bit wide, not only failing to complete the pass but also allowing Wilson to re-take the third spot.

The last set of pit stops cycled through from laps 59 to 65, allowing Wilson and Junqueira to briefly hold the lead before Allmendinger reclaimed the point. Tracy fought to hold on to the second spot while Bourdais closed on the Canadian. Tracy held him off until the final lap, when Bourdais tried to go on the outside of Tracy in the final two turns. Tracy slid to the right in the middle of Turn Eight and clipped the Frenchman, sending both drivers into a spin and out of the race.

Junqueira and Clarke raced through the carnage to take the podium spots - the first and Clarke's young career - while Roshfrans Rookie-of-the-Year points leader Will Power and Nelson Philippe rounded out the top five.