Iditarod 2013: Seavey and Zirkle sprint toward neck-and-neck finish

This year's Iditarod is shaping up to have one of the best finishes in recent memory.

Former Iditarod champion musher Mitch Seavey checked out of the checkpoint at White Mountain 13 minutes ahead of Aliy Zirkle on Tuesday, and the 2013 edition is shaping up for a dramatic finish in Nome sometime between 2:30-4:30 a.m. ET Wednesday, according to the Anchorage Daily News.

The mushers were 930 miles into the race when they checked in at White Mountain, and both have the opportunity to make history if they are to be the first to cross the line in Nome. Seavey, 53, would be the oldest Iditarod champion, and Zirkle would be the third woman to win and first since 1990, the Anchorage Daily News said.

Seavey, the 2004 champion musher, had a much more substantial lead out of the checkpoint in Elim on Monday. But between Elim and White Mountain, Zirkle shaved more than 35 minutes off her deficit.

Danny Seavey, one of Mitch Seavey's sons who has also completed the Iditarod before, used the family's Facebook page Tuesday night to note how tight the race was.

The Iditarod is usually won by an hour or more. The drama isn't high speed passes or neck and neck racing, but rather long term strategy. It's been 20 years since we've had a truly close race at the finish. So this is kind of new territory for the Iditarod.

Four-time champion Jeff King left White Mountain in third place, about 90 minutes behind Zirkle. Dallas Seavey, last year's champion and another son of Mitch Seavey, was in fourth place, about three minutes ahead of -- a virtual tie -- with Nome native Ray Redington Jr.

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