Joar opted to drop 2 dogs when he left White mountain, leaving 10 in harness. Nic Petit will be able to hit the trail 3 1/2 hours after him, and Nic will have at most 11 dogs in front of his sled if he doesn't drop any. Mitch Seavey, with at most 9 dogs, 2 hours after that. It gives Joar a comfortable margin, but not a certain one.
This screen capture from the GPS tracking system shows the racing groups I was referencing earlier. The top 5, all in and around White Mountain; a cluster of other top 20 contenders +/- 20 miles around Elim; Anna leading the pack of the top 30 scramble, with her GPS putting her at mile 820 and in 22nd place. Kristy and Andy are likely enjoying the solitude at mile 760 between Una and Shak, assuming the weather isn't so nasty as to preclude enjoying anything. But other than 2 teams racing 4 miles ahead, they have 20 miles of trail in front and behind that is devoid of teams. The last grouping of teams is scattered along the 85 miles between Kaltag and Una, except for Tara Cicatello and Steve Watkins, the last two teams at mile 581 on what is a long, lonely slug along the Nulato Hills between Grayling and Kaltag, particularly with Eagle Island still just a hospitality stop.
Several more mushers have scratched, bringing that total to 8, and leaving 59 teams on the trail. Steve Watkins is running in the 59th position and under the same bib number, and I hope he and all the other teams make it to Nome for the symmetry alone.
Among those scratching are Wade Marrs, previously considered a top contender in this year's race, Ryan Redington (leaving Ray the loan Redington still in the race, but as he's up in 4th, I figure old Joe Sr is not complaining), and Allen Moore, Yukon Quest champion. Marrs and Moore both mentioned personal health issues as the primary cause. Seeing Double certainly wishes all of the mushers and dog teams no longer on the trail swift and safe journeys to their kennels.