The Monkey-Wrench Gang

Okay, so my last post pretty much makes it clear that I think Mr. Mackey is the guy to beat in this year’s Iditarod–and after reading his interview in the ADN, the reader can see that he thinks so, too.

Now I’m going to qualify that statement: my assessment of Lance’s ability/likelihood of winning this year is based on his perceived strengths going into the race.

Over nine days and 1000+ miles, there are plenty of things that can happen to derail any musher’s plans, no matter how strong, experienced, or dominant they are, and as I said a few days ago, there is definitely a sense of “shake-up syndrome” permeating this year’s racing season–who know’s what monkey wrenches or stumbling blocks might lay in the contestants’ path…

Excluding Lance (as the guy to beat), here is my short list of the drivers I think are most likely to be able to capitalize on any mistake he might make:

1–Paul Gebhardt

2–Dallas Seavey

3–John Baker

4–Sebastian Schnuelle

5–Ken Anderson

6–Mitch Seavey

7–Hans Gatt

8–Ramey Smyth

9–Cym Smyth

I think it also bears noting that Mike Williams Jr. & Pete Kaiser of the YK Delta region are both driving world-class teams, and if they don’t have enough experience to properly cope with the aforementioned drivers this year, they will someday soon (not that I’m counting them out by any stretch of the imagination). I plan to cover these two and a few others in a series of post titled “Young Guns”.

Thanks for tuning in–more to follow…

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6 Responses to “The Monkey-Wrench Gang”

  1. jason what makes lance so good,in nascar jimmy johnson is the man to beat each year and he could not do it without hendricks engines and crews. he has talent ofcourse so does lance have a advantage with his dogs and if so is he doing something different in trainning or is it breeding?

    • If I had the answer to that one, Big Rich, I would be a very popular fellow with Lance’s competitors…

      In all seriousness, I’ll do my best to answer that to the best of my ability in a (near) future post.

  2. Jason, just some thoughts …
    I think Lance is one of the all time greats and a class guy.
    However, winning 5 in a row is going to be very tough. Remember his YQ streak of 4 ended when he didn’t run in 2009 and then finished 2nd last year.
    Everything said about Lance could have been said about Susan in her prime – mid 1980’s, Rick Swenson – early 1980’s or Doug Swingley – 1999 – early 2000’s in his.
    Susan finished 2nd in 1989 to end her streak of 3, Rick finished 5th in 1983 to end his at 2 and Doug finished 40th in 2002 to end his at 3. All three were dominating in their respective eras.
    Interestingly Doug’s average margin of victory over the 2nd place finisher was about 6 hours, Susan’s approximately 3 and Swenson’s less than an hour. Lance’s is around 3 hours.
    I think Lance changed the dynamics of the race and indeed the sport when he won both the YQ and the Iditarod in 2007, to start his current Iditarod run and domination – tremendous dogs! The kennels, breeding programs and training have changed in response to this. I think we are seeing mushers with teams that are equal to Lance’s, he had a little head start.
    That being said I wouldn’t bet against him and he has beat the odds in winning the past 4.
    But … my top 5 are – John Baker, Dallas Seavey, Paul Gebhardt, Mitch Seavey, Jessie Royer.

    PS, appreciate you trying to get a handle on the Race To The Sky “information vacuum”. Any ideas on how to make it better next year? (I was a volunteer this year).

    • Great analysis, Iceman–I like your stats, and your top 5. Concerning the information vacuum in the RttS–I’m going to volunteer to handle their race update/media/internet presence next year. With that said, please keep in mind that that doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll except my help…

  3. Jason, sure hope you can do that for the RTTS next year.
    Following the YQ, it was amazing what they did on Facebook. Cheap, fast, 1000’s of people following.

    • You’re dead on with that comment, Iceman–my thoughts exactly concerning the YQ’s Facebook presence, and the K300’s too, for that matter. If the RttS will let me in, that’s a BIG part of my plan for their “facelift”.

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