Alaska native musher John Baker is racing to Nome in a position to win the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race Tuesday in record time.
He left White Mountain shortly after midnight Monday with only 77 miles left to go in the 1,150-mile race that began in Anchorage.
Ramey Smyth of Willow is about an hour behind. The race website show Hans Gatt of Whitehorse, Yukon, in third place.
A race judge at the Elim checkpoint Monday said Baker could knock about two hours off the Iditarod record of eight days, 22 hours and 46 minutes that was set in 2002 by Martin Buser.
Baker has had 11 top-10 finishes in 15 years, but this would be his first Iditarod victory.
Sixty-two team began the Iditarod March 6, and 11 have scratched or withdrawn.