Racing duel: Aho battles fellow UP racer for win at Eagle River Speedway

Photo courtesy of Heather Kangas Toivola's Jesse Aho qualified for the WISSOTA 100 National race with his win Friday Night at Eagle River (WI) Speedway.  Photo is with his sons Cooper and Connor.

There’s an old saying: ’it’’s not over till the plus-size lady sings.’ Last Friday night, the lady had to wait till the checkered flag flew before her vocal chords went into action. 

Feature after feature, the fans were at the edge of their seats wondering who would have the honor to go to the Auto Value Victory Lane.

With only four cars in the WISSOTA Midwest Modified feature, one would not have expected as good of a race as those four racers displayed. The race opened up with the current class-point leader, Mercer’s’ Steve Altman was in a good battle with the racer that is currently in second in the points, Jonathon Miller. As those two were ’duking’ it out, last year’s class champion, Marcus Dunbar of Wakefield, was in a great battle with the class champion from 2011 to 2016, Jesse Aho of Toivola.

“Which battle should I focus on?  The Altman versus Miller or the Dunbar and Aho race?”” said track photographer Heather Kangas.

When Miller lost control coming out of the button-hook third turn, the caution flag came out. That allowed Dunbar and Aho to get right on the bumper of Altman. Aho got by Dunbar and he put his crosshairs on Altman.

With the race winding down, Aho finally got around Altman.  When Dunbar also worked his way get around Altman, he charged hard to give Aho a run for his money.  The two western Upper Peninsula racers then thrilled the fans with another exciting finish.  Aho was able to hold off Dunbar to get the win.

Aho’s victory qualified him for the WISSOTA Race of Champions event at the end of the year in Fergus Falls, Minnesota.

In another WISSOTA-sanctioned race, the Street Stock race, which had some of the top WISSOTA racers from the past tackle the top hometown racers, it wasn’t clear who would end up winning.

Hurley’s John Kallas brought the late Jake Mullins’ car to the legendary tri-oval.  Kallas, Jim Randall of Rice Lake, and Kevin Bogdonavich of Wausau, tamed the tricky triangle. Throughout the whole race, those three were in a battle with the class’S current point leader, C.J. Hedges, Jr., and also Jason Eisel.

When the checkered flag flew, it was Randall holding off Eisel for the win.

There was another good battle between a Minnesota native, Zach Nelson and an Upper Peninsula racer in the eight-car Sprint 600 race. One of the top racers at the UP State Fairgrounds, Matt Peterson of Escanaba, took his Suzuki to an impressive second place finish, just behind Nelson.