Kiwi Scott Dixon got a massive get out of jail free moment in his bid for a fifth Indycar championship at this morning's penultimate round in Portland.

He finished fifth to extend his title advantage to 29 points heading to the final double points round at Sonoma in a fortnight.

Takuma Sato held off Ryan Hunter-Reay for the race win.

Dixon started in the mid-pack and paid a massive price as he got tangled up in a crash on the opening lap as Zach Veach and James Hinchcliffe clashed, catching Marco Andretti and Graham Rahal as well.

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The four-time champion had to take evasive action and swerve off the track, he was blinded by dust but managed to get through the incident with minimal damage. He pitted to repair his car and kept going but right at the rear of the field.

Championship rivals Alexander Rossi and Will Power were out front early in the race but Power suffered a transmission problem and fell out of contention.

Rossi looked like he would take a decent championship lead to the final round after leading for a big chunk of the race.

But Dixon, worked strategy perfectly to get himself back into contention and then pitted just prior to a caution, to leapfrog Rossi.

"I thought it was pretty bad," Dixon said as he went off the track. "I couldn't see anything – once I got into the dirt I kept getting hit.

"The suspension felt like it was a bit bent but a huge day for the team."

Dixon certainly got away with a major scare but he doesn't think it is time to celebrate a fifth title just yet.

"I dunno," he said. "Obviously going into Sonoma with 29 points is not a lot. I am really happy for the team. These girls and guys work so hard."