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Scott McLaughlin is leading the hunt for his first IndyCar oval win The rain paused the Gateway race halfway through

Scott McLaughlin was leading the Indianapolis 500 when rain delays forced the race to be stopped.

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On Saturday at World Wide Technology Raceway Gateway, Scott McLaughlin had just taken the lead from teammate Josef Newgarden during the final pit stop exchange before rain delayed the race.

After McLaughlin’s final pit stop on Lap 213, he assumed the lead, and the race was eventually called off due to rain at 7:56 p.m. ET, on Lap 218 of a total of 260.

IndyCar and track officials were still trying to dry the 1.25-mile track and complete the final 42 laps as late as 8:30 p.m.

McLaughlin was going for his third career win after getting his first in the season opener in St. Petersburg, Florida. The No. 3 Dallara-Chevrolet driven by the Team Penske driver also won at Mid-Ohio.

After gaining the lead on fresh tires and a Lap 157 restart, Newgarden pitted from the front on Lap 209 and dropped to second place. In the pits, he lost a second to McLaughlin, who had completed his final stop a lap earlier.

At the time the race was stopped for a red flag, Pato O’Ward was in third place.

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

Scott Dixon, who entered Gateway seven points behind Power, was in eighth, and Indy 500 winner Marcus Ericsson was in seventh for his Chip Ganassi Racing team.

Alex Palou, the defending series champion and still a contender for the title, was tenth.

David Malukas, a rookie, was in fifth place when the race was stopped, with teammate Takuma Sato in sixth.

If the rain had started a few minutes earlier, the Dale Coyne Racing drivers would have been in position for a 1-2 finish, but they gave up those positions on track for pit stops four laps before the yellow flag flew for rain.

Malukas said to NBC Sports’ Kevin Lee, “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.” Maybe we could have saved enough gas for three laps if we had. It stings a little because we were so close to winning, but we had a great time and a great run.

Due to the possibility of rain, the IndyCar series decided to advance the start of the race by 30 minutes.

As the rain stops, Scott McLaughlin is in the lead and closing in on his first IndyCar oval victory. The article Gateway Race | NBC Sports Group originally appeared on NBCSports.com.