The Iron Dog set off from Wasilla on Sunday for the 2,000-mile snowmachine race, with Corey Davis of Soldotna and Ryan Simons of Alberta moving toward the front of the pack.
Davis and Soldotna were second into McGrath, which is 360 miles into the race. Todd Minnick and Nick Olstad, both of Wasilla, grabbed the lead by pulling into McGrath 19 minutes ahead of Davis and Simons. Minnick and Olstad have already teamed up for two championships and finished second last season.
Dusty VanMeter of Kasilof, who has won the Iron Dog five times, is teaming with Chad Gueco of Wasilla. The pair was in 14th place at McGrath. Also from the peninsula, Matt Heilala of Soldotna and Stan James of Palmer are in 30th place. This is the fourth time Heilala has raced the Iron Dog.