Their closest competition in the race’s final hours came from Team 6 drivers Tyler Huntington and Tre West, who arrived in Fairbanks at 1:06 PM.
McKenna and VanMeter have each been in the winner’s circle of the Iron Dog before, but this is their first time there together. It’s also the first time the race’s winners have driven Ski-Doo sleds to the finish line, an important detail for drivers heavily subsidized by corporate sponsorships.
Team 17 pulled ahead of the pack on the home stretch to the race’s Nome midpoint Tuesday afternoon, beating local favorite Team 10’s Mike Morgan and Chris Olds into town and claiming a $10,000 prize for being first into town. Morgan and Olds took a geographical lead during Thursday’s restart, reaching Kaltag ahead of McKenna and VanMeter, but the duo kept the crucial race lead on overall time.
This year’s race has been an extremely fast one even by Iron Dog standards, with Team 43’s Cliff Johnson and Stacey Green in the race’s Trail Class -- which only travels the 1,000 miles from Big Lake to Nome -- reaching Nome at 6:21 p.m. Monday evening, less than 36 hours after the Sunday start in Big Lake.
As of Saturday afternoon, seven teams had scratched from the race’s initial Pro Class field of 31 teams. They include Teams 9, 32, 21, 39, 30, 7 and 25.
Check KTUU.com’s special Iron Dog section for a complete wrap-up of the race as well as video clips of our coverage and special photo galleries, including shots of the race start and your images of the race.Email Tim Akimoff