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Two months later, the state issued a “certificate of involuntary dissolution” because of the car wash’s failure to file its report and pay state licensing fees.

One of the coupe’s lakeside properties, according to the county records, was jointly owned by the Palins and Scott and Debbie Richter, who also were business partners.

Mrs. Richter served as treasurer of Mrs. Palin’s gubernatorial campaign and her inaugural committee and later was named to head the Permanent Fund Dividend Division at the Alaska Department of Revenue, which allocates oil revenues to Alaska residents.

The Richters have since divorced and the property is now jointly owned by the Palins and Mr. Richter, according to the record.

Mr. Palin finished fourth in February in the 2,000-mile “Tesoro Iron Dog” race - the world’s longest and most grueling snow-machine competition - despite breaking his arm after a 60-miles-per-hour crash 400 miles short of the finish line. The four-time race champion was thrown 70 feet from his Arctic Cat machine and had to be hospitalized, but only after crossing the finish line.

“These are big boys; they make their own decisions,” Mrs. Palin said as she waited for her husband to cross the finish line. “They’re hard-core Alaskans doing hard-core adventures. I totally support him, and I totally support the race. I love it. Going 400 miles with a broken arm, now that’s impressive.

“If there’s any way he can finish the race,” she said, “he’s going to finish it.”

The Iron Dog race wasn’t the first time Mr. Palin tested his abilities or his work ethic. The quarter Yup’ik Eskimo has spent more than 20 years working the oil fields on Alaska’s North Slope, along with duty as a commercial fisherman at the Bristol Bay Salmon Fishery on the Nushagak River in his hometown of Dillingham - two of the state’s most physically demanding industries.

But the governor also is no stranger to adversity and determination. She helped her high school basketball team win the state’s small school championship in 1982 by sinking a critical free throw in the final seconds of a game despite an ankle stress fracture.

Mrs. Palin, a marathon runner whose intensity and tough play earned her the high school nickname “Sarah Barracuda,” sometimes went moose hunting with her father before school and found time in 1984 to finish second in the Miss Alaska beauty pageant, where she won a college scholarship and the “Miss Congeniality” contest.

The couple met at Wasilla High School and eloped in 1988 because they had no money for a wedding.