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IndyCar Gateway race resumes after two-hour delay with Scott McLaughlin in the lead

IndyCar McLaughlin Gateway rain

MADISON, IL - AUGUST 20: Front row starters Will Power (#12 Team Penske) and Marcus Ericsson (#8 Chip Ganassi Racing) lead the field out of turn four ana to the start of the NTT IndyCar Series Bommarito Automotive Group 500, Saturday, August 20, 2022, at World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway in Madison, IL. (Photo by David Allio/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Scott McLaughlin was on the verge of his first NTT IndyCar Series oval victory Saturday, snatching the lead from teammate Josef Newgarden during the last pit stop exchange before rain delayed the race at World Wide Technology Raceway Gateway.

McLaughlin took the lead on Lap 213 after his final pit stop, and the race was red-flagged a few minutes later on Lap 218 of a scheduled 260 because of rain at 7:55 p.m. ET.

The red flag was lifted at 10:09 p.m. after a delay of more than two hours to dry the 1.25-mile track for the final 42 laps,

After opening the season by breaking through for his first win on the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida, McLaughlin was seeking his third career victory. The Team Penske driver also won at Mid-Ohio in the No. 3 Dallara-Chevrolet.

Newgarden, who had zoomed into the lead after motoring from seventh to first in eight laps on fresh tires after a Lap 157 restart, was in second after pitting from the lead on Lap 209. He lost a second in the pits to McLaughlin, who had made his final stop a lap earlier.

Pato O’Ward was in third when the race was put under the red flag.

Will Power, who tied an IndyCar record with his 67th career pole position, was in fourth for Penske and in position to extend his championship lead with two races remaining (Sept. 4 at Portland International Raceway and Sept. 11 at Laguna Seca Raceway).

Indy 500 winner Marcus Ericsson was in seventh, and Chip Ganassi Racing teammate Scott Dixon, who entered Gateway trailing Power by seven points, was in eighth.

Defending series champion Alex Palou, who also remains in the title hunt, was in 10th.

Rookie David Malukas was in fifth at the red flag, and teammate Takuma Sato was sixth.

The Dale Coyne Racing drivers were in a position to be 1-2 if the rain had started just a few minutes earlier, but they gave up their spots on track for pit stops four laps before the yellow flew for the rain.

“We could have held one for probably one more lap, but our whole strategy was to just push because we don’t know when it’s going to rain,” Malukas told NBC Sports’ Kevin Lee. “If we would have, we probably could have saved a bit of fuel for three laps. It hurts a little bit, we were two laps away, but all in all, it was a lot of fun and a good run.”

Inclement weather had been in the forecast, causing IndyCar officials to move the start of the race up by 30 minutes.