Dixon Wins At Motegi, Takes Point Lead

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Scott Dixon speaks with Jack Arute after winning the pole at Twin Ring Motegi. He then went on to victory on Saturday afternoon in Japan.

Scott Dixon speaks with Jack Arute after winning the pole at Twin Ring Motegi. He then went on to victory on Saturday afternoon in Japan.

MOTEGI, Japan — Scott Dixon claimed his fifth victory of the season, winning the Indy Japan 300 at Twin Ring Motegi to take over the IndyCar Series point lead with one race remaining.

Dixon, who started from the pole and led a field-high 149 of 200 laps, took the lead for good on the 164th lap and finished 1.4475 seconds ahead of Target Chip Ganassi teammate Dario Franchitti.

“A fantastic day for Team Target. A 1-2. For me it’s tremendous,” said Dixon, who won for the 21st time in his career. “It’s a track I’ve always wanted to win in. I kind of put Motegi just below the Indy 500. It’s a very difficult circuit. I remember coming here in the early years and competing for different engine manufacturers and how much emphasis is put on this race. If you have a fast car, you can still get to the front. Put on a good show. Over the moon. Definitely a good day for points and very happy.”

Graham Rahal finished third, while Mario Moraes, who started on the front row for the first time in his 30-plus races, overcame an early pit miscue to wind up fifth — his third consecutive top five.

Ryan Briscoe, who entered the race as the points leader, saw his chances winning the race and all but clinch the series championship dwindle after he made a mistake after a pit stop on lap 106. As the No. 6 Team Penske car exited pit lane, Briscoe swerved as he lit up the tires, brushed the inside retaining wall and ran over a cone at the end of the pit lane. After multiple pit stops to repair the damage, he rejoined the race, but had dropped to 19th.

Dixon now leads the standings with 570 points, followed by Franchitti, who has 565. Briscoe, who went into the race with a 25-point lead over Franchitti and a 32-point lead over Dixon, finished 18th and has 562 points.