FAIRBANKS-The 2014 Iron Dog snowmobile race ended in downtown Fairbanks on Saturday. A crowd of fans gathered to cheer on the racers as they completed the 2 thousand and 31 mile trek from Big Lake to Nome and finally into Fairbanks. Family and friends waited to greet the winning team who cruised past the finish line at about noon today.
It would be Team 16 coming into sight first along the river as Todd Minnick and Nick Olstad of Wasilla take the 2014 crown. Minnick and Olstad were first into Tanana last night and were able to cruise into Fairbanks well ahead of the competition. Team 16 pushed their Polaris sleds to a total race time of 36 hours 58 minutes and 37 seconds. They averaged a race-best 55 miles per hour throughout the 2000 mile journey. They claim a $50,000 winners prize and bragging rights until next year's race.
Finishing in second place about 20 minutes behind Minnick and Olstad was Team 17. Defending champs Marc McKenna and Dusty Vanmeter piloted their Ski-Doo sleds along the course and remaining at the top of the pack throughout, but were unable to catch Team 16 down the stretch. Their attempt at an astonishing three-peat would fall just short in this year's race.
Third place would go to Mike Morgan and Chris Olds as Team 10 came in 30 minutes behind McKenna and Vanmeter. Olds and Morgan led for the first half of the race, but encountered some problems in the 2nd half and fell back to third. It was a nice finish for Team 10, but far from the ending they had hoped for as their title dreams disappeared in the final days of the race.