Kiwi driver Scott Dixon has admitted he "wanted to cry" after thinking his chances of a fifth IndyCar title were ruined by a crash at this week's Portland Grand Prix.
Dixon entered the penultimate race of the 2018 season on Monday leading the drivers' championship but after getting tied up in a six car pile-up on the first lap, he was brought close to tears.
"I felt like I wanted to cry for a little bit, actually," Dixon told IndyCar.com.
The Kiwi was however surprised to discover after the crash his car was not seriously damaged and he recovered a substantial amount of ground to go from 21st place to fifth.
The stunning performance saw him not just defend his overall lead in the championship but extend it to 29 points over American Alexander Rossi who finished eighth in Portland.
"I definitely thought it was over before it began," Dixon said. "That old saying, 'better lucky than good,' that definitely played out. I knew it was going to be a pretty lucky day from that point on."
Despite the heroics, Dixon still only has one hand on the title heading into the final race at Sonoma, California on September 17.
The race offers double points, meaning not only can Rossi take the title but Australian Will Power and defending champion Josef Newgarden also have a mathematical chance of winning despite sitting 87 points back.
If Dixon wins in California, the title is his. If Rossi wins, Dixon must finish second or he'll lose.