Tyson Johnson of Skwentna and Chris Olds of Eagle River remained in the lead of the Iron Dog snowmobile race Thursday as the racers zeroed in on Fairbanks.
As of 5 p.m. Thursday, Johnson and Olds were taking a layover in Ruby, which is 1,610 miles into the 1,971-mile race.
The duo's closest pursuers were Tracey Brassard of Anchorage and Ken Lee of Eagle River. Those two were taking a layover in Galena, which is 1,558 miles into the race and 52 miles in back of Ruby.
From Ruby, Johnson and Olds have just 120 miles of windblown trail to Tanana. The trail is marked by Tanana Search and Rescue. In Tenana, the racers will have a mandatory hold for a daylight finish Saturday in Fairbanks.
Other Kenai Peninsula racers remain in a thick pack in the top six. Soldotna's Scott Davis and Minnesota's Kirk Hibbert were in third place Thursday night. They had left Kaltag, 1,460 miles into the race, at 2:37 p.m. Thursday.
The other peninsula racers had yet to reach Kaltag. In fourth place were Mark Carr of Kenai and Korey Cronquist of Eagle River. Riding in fifth were defending champions Todd Palin of Wasilla and Dusty VanMeter of Kasilof. In sixth were Doug Brewer of Nikiski and James Dick of Seward.
The final peninsula team -- Soldotna's Rick Bailey and Steve Sholin -- were in 14th place in the race. The two jetted off from Nome at 5:07 p.m. Thursday.
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