Alaska's dog mushers closing in on Nome

Lance Mackey reached the Safety checkpoint at 11:44 p.m. Tuesday night in Alaska — 3:44 a.m. Wednesday EDT — and left a minute later with likely less than three hours to go before crossing the finish line in Nome. Jeff King passed through Safety at 12:52 a.m., more than an hour behind the leader. Based on satellite tracking data, The Anchorage Daily News Tuesday night was projecting Mackey the winner of the 2008 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race.

The race was expected to finish in Nome between 2 and 5 a.m. — 6 and 9 a.m. in the Eastern time zone —. Satellite data showed Mackey's team steadily increasing its lead over King's.

On the last day of the 1,100 mile race, the teams were often down to walking speed. Last year, Mackey did what was considered impossible in winning the 1,000-mile Yukon Quest Sled Dog Race from Fairbanks to Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, at the end of February, and then getting back on the runners at the start of March to charge to victory in the Iditarod.

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