MOTEGI, Japan, Sept. 18 (UPI) -- Scott Dixon averaged 202.031 mph and won the pole for Saturday's Indy Japan 300 in Motegi.
Dixon's run at the Twin Ring Motegi gave him his first IndyCar Series pole of the season, and he earned a bonus point in his quest to defend his series title.
"It's definitely all-out for me," the New Zealander said. "We've got to try to gain obviously the pole point. It's only one, but it definitely helps. It's also good for the ego coming into the race, maybe confidence over some of the others."
Dixon trails series leader Ryan Briscoe by 32 points and second-place Dario Franchitti by seven points.
Mario Moraes will start in the front row with Dixon. Franchitti and Briscoe are in the second row.
"I think our race car is better than our qualifying car right now," Franchitti said. "(Briscoe) has to keep an eye on what we're doing. We've got to go out there and close the points gap. We'll be doing the best we possibly can."
Graham Rahal and defending Japan 300 champion Danica Patrick are in the third row. Patrick's win last year made her the first woman to win a major open-wheel event.