Update, 1:40 p.m.: Todd Minnick and Nick Olstad have won the 2014 Iron Dog snowmachine race.
The Wasilla team checked in to Fairbanks Saturday with a final course time of 36:58:37 -- some 22 minutes ahead of the second place team of defending champions Marc McKenna and Dusty Van Meter, according to the Iron Dog's website.
"It feels good to be on top again," Olstad told the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner newspaper after crossing the finish line on the Chena River. The pair had previously won the race in 2009.
Demonstrating perfect timing, Todd Minnick and Nick Olstad surged into the lead of the 2,000-mile Iron Dog snowmachine race on Friday to put themselves in excellent position for Saturday's final stretch.
Minnick and Olstad were the first team to reach Tanana, where teams will wait for a Saturday morning restart that ensures a daylight finish in Fairbanks.
The Wasilla men own a 22-minute lead over defending champions Marc McKenna and Dusty Van Meter and a 58-minute lead over Mike Morgan and Chris Olds, who were leading the race through Galena. Once in Galena, Morgan and Olds needed to make repairs that cost them time, according to the team's Facebook page.
Minnick, a veteran racer with no wins, and Olstad, a two-time winner, will leave Tanana at 8 a.m. They are less than 300 miles from the finish line.
McKenna and Van Meter, who are trying to post the third three-peat in the 30-year-old race, will leave at 8:21 a.m. Morgan and Olds will leave at 8:58 a.m.
Racers will go through Manley Hot Springs, Nenana and North Pole en route to the Fairbanks finish line, which is downtown on the Chena River near the Cushman Street bridge.
A field of 25 two-person teams remain in the race. The race began Sunday at Big Lake with 38 teams. Three of the 13 teams that have scratched called it quits on Friday.
Saturday's departure times from Tanana
(as 9 p.m. Friday)
8 a.m. -- Minnick-Olstad. 8:21 a.m. -- McKenna-VanMeter, 8:58 -- Morgan-Olds 8:58:15. 9:33 a.m. -- George-George. 9:33 a.m. -- Dick-Quam. 9:53 a.m. -- Agnes-Marks. 10:08 -- Aklestad-Johnson. 10:13 -- Davis-Simons. 10:28 -- Barber-Sottosanti. 10:32 -- Dow-Lessard. 10:46 -- Bunke-Faeo.
Anchorage Daily News