Soldotna’s Scott Davis and his partner, Aaron Bartel of Anchorage, stayed near the top of the field in the Iron Dog on Thursday.
As of Thursday night, Davis was listed in fourth place in the race, but in reality he was in second place.
Willow’s Cody Barber and Brett Lapham, a pair of rookies, were listed in first place, but they blew through Unalakleet, where the top runners were taking a 10-hour layover, and instead took their layover in Kaltag. They arrived there at 6:22 p.m. Willow’s Shane Barber and Wasilla’s Ryan Sottosanti also pushed to Kaltag and took their layover there.
The gamble was that a blizzard would keep the top runners from advancing very fast, and the push to Kaltag would them ahead of the worst of the storm.
Unalakleet is 95 miles from Kaltag.
Wasilla’s Scott Faeo and Palmer’s Eric Quam were the first to Unalakleet, declaring their layover at 1:19 p.m. Davis, the seven-time champ, and partner Aaron Bartel of Anchorage arrived in Unalakleet at 1:53 p.m.
Soldotna’s Cory Davis and Ryan Simons of Alberta got to Unalakleet at 6:23 p.m. and scratched, joining Peninsula competitors Ashley Wood and Mark Carr on the scratch list.