Nicholas Petit of Girdwood and Ray Redington of Wasilla were separated by one minute Saturday night as they set the early pace in the Northern Lights 300 sleddog race.
Forty-seven miles into the 300-mile race in the Susitna Valley, Petit and Redington had a lead of about an hour over DeeDee Jonrowe of Willow.
Petit was the first to arrive and the first to leave Yentna Station, where all mushers must take a four-hour layover. He arrived with 16 dogs and left with 12, hitting the trail at 7:46 p.m.
One minute behind him was Redington, who was driving 11 dogs after leaving two behind at Yentna.
After Yentna comes a 75-mile run to Finger Lake, where mushers face a four-hour mandatory layover. Then it's 75 miles back to Yentna and another six-hour layover. From there it's 47 miles to the Big Lake finish line at Martin Buser's Happy Trails Kennel.
The race should finish Monday. Snowmachines in the area are asked to be on the watch for dog teams.
Northern Lights 300
Standings as of 9:30 p.m. Saturday
Out of Yentna -- Nicholas Petit 7:46 p.m., Ray Redington 7:47 p.m., DeeDee Jonrowe 8:38 p.m., Kelley Maixner 9:02 p.m., Justin Savidis 9:13 p.m.; Jason Mackey 9:14 p.m. Into Yentna (4 hour mandatory layover) -- Stephanie Ehlenfeldt 4:36 p.m., Lev Shvarts 4:55 p.m., Seth Barnes 5:25 p.m., Karin Hendrickson 5:28 p.m., Charley Bejna 7:45 p.m.
Anchorage Daily News