Scott McLaughlin was close to his first oval win of the NTT IndyCar Series on Saturday, taking the lead from teammate Josef Newgarden during the final pit stop change before rain delayed the race at World Wide Technology Raceway Gateway.
McLaughlin took the lead after his final pit stop on lap 213, and the race was red flagged a few minutes later on lap 218 of a scheduled 260 due to rain at 19:56 ET.
As of 8:30 p.m., IndyCar and track officials were still attempting to dry out the 1.25-mile track and complete the final 42 laps.
After opening the season with his first win on the streets of St. Petersburg, Fla., McLaughlin was aiming for his third career win. The Team Penske driver also won in Mid-Ohio in the #3 Dallara Chevrolet.
Newgarden, who had taken the lead after going from seventh to first in eight laps on fresh tires after a restart on lap 157was 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 third when the race was red flagged.
willpower, who set an IndyCar record with his 67th career pole positionwas fourth for Penske and was able to extend his championship lead with two remaining races (September 4 at Portland International Raceway and September 11 at Laguna Seca Raceway).
Indy 500 winner Marcus Ericsson was seventh and Chip Ganassi Racing teammate Scott Dixon, who entered Gateway seven points behind Power, was eighth.
Defending champion Alex Palou, who also remains in contention for the title, finished tenth.
Rookie David Malukas was fifth at the red flag and teammate Takuma Sato was sixth.
The Dale Coyne Racing drivers were able to be 1-2 when the rain had started just a few minutes earlier, but they gave up their places on track for pit stops four laps before the rain yellow flew.
“We probably could have gone one more lap, but our whole strategy was just to push because we don’t know when it’s going to rain,” Malukas told NBC Sports’ Kevin Lee. “If we had done that, we could have maybe saved a little fuel for three laps. It hurts a bit, we were two laps away but overall it was a lot of fun and a good run.”
Bad weather had been in the forecast, causing IndyCar officials to bring the start of the race forward by 30 minutes.