Team 22 registered to run the 2010 Iron Dog Race on February 21, 2010. The guys are already making room for another trophy...
Well, we might have an answer for that!
We recently found a fascinating first hand account of Team Davis/Palin efforts to win the race.
What I witnessed was Scott Davis and Todd Palin adjusting their track tension "off the clock" right before pulling up to the restart. When they were confronted, they definitely looked like the proverbial lad with his red hand in the cookie jar.
The alleged former infractions I was informed about include: taking parts on the course rather than at a checkpoint (this would allow them to repair at the failure location rather than tow or backtrack to a checkpoint), taking fuel from an airplane or bought from a villager (in former races, the rules stated fuel would only come from that provided by the race direction at the checkpoints), replacing sled parts that were not allowed to be replaced (self-explanatory), replacing parts assemblies rather than individual components (i.e., replacing a complete rear skid assembly rather than disassembling the existing skid to replace a failed part).
Those are the instances I had heard of.
Mark Carr (former veteran racer) was DQ'ed during a different race for buying fuel in a village after running out before the next checkpoint. There was no '15 minute' penalty, etc......it was a full disqualification.
Why does it matter if a team breaks the rules?
The non-cheating way to handle a need for track adjustment would have been for them to restart, then immediately pull over and make the adjustment, which is what they did after getting busted.Of course, other competitors were not impressed with the performance of the winning team, and didn't forget it in a hurry. Some were still talking about it in 2008.
Andrew, this race is timed. The racers were off the clock to move their machines from the impound area to the restart line on 'Front' Street. On the way there, Davis/Palin wrenched on their sleds off the clock, thus stealing several minutes from every team chasing them.
The rules state that certain parts are not legal to be replaced, and certain parts, (like a complete engine assembly) cannot be replaced as an assembly. (or a complete rear skid).
Much harsher penalties were usually given for similar violations, or people were even disqualified for lesser violations.
The final minutes of the 2007 race were a nailbiting affair, "in a rare nearly photo-finish style." Team 22 cheated, weren't disqualified or penalized enough and went on to win the coveted $25,000 prize money. This year the money for the winners has been doubled.
Is it possible that the 2007 "win" had something to do with the fact that the winner's spouse was the still popular and powerful governor of the great state of Alaska?
Will Mrs Todd Palin be able clear a couple of dates in her busy calendar to cheer her husband in this very Alaskan event? After all, she quit being governor to help progress the state of Alaska, didn't she? This year she could have appeared in full Arctic Cat gear, warm from head to toe, and nobody would have raised an eyebrow. Perhaps they aren't that interested in the walking billboard now that she's no longer "The Governor".
Todd won the race before, but with other partners. He has previously raced with Dusty Van Meter in the race, and they were co-champions in 2000 and 2002. In 1995, Palin partnered with Dwayne Drake for his first win.
Sarah didn't wear her husband's team colours in 1995. She was only a councilwoman in those days, but she was as classy as ever, as we can see in this video.
We're sure the other teams will be watching Team 22 very closely indeed. They have quite a reputation... and could end up $50,000 richer!
We will be paying attention to the race too. We call it "Grifter Watch".
Scott Davis's wife made a curious statement:
“There can be a lot of drama that follows the race, a lot of drama. Being a favorite team, they’re targeted a lot. You can’t do anything wrong, or somebody’s going to turn you in, because that’s one way to get you out of the race: get you disqualified.”
(H/T to Say NO to Palin in Politics)