SONOMA, Calif. — The raceway in Sonoma will honor the memory of the late Eric Medlen during the 6th annual Eric Medlen Nitro Night Charity Dinner at the beautiful Stone Tree Golf Club on Thursday, July 26. The gala is presented by The 101 Casino and Pacific Truck Repair.
Medlen, a native of Oakdale in the San Joaquin Valley, won the Funny Car championship in Sonoma, his home track, in 2006. He succumbed in March, 2007, to injuries sustained from a testing accident. Medlen was a member of John Force Racing.
A variety of popular NHRA personalities will highlight the night, including Ashley Force-Hood, Funny Car drivers Jack Beckman (Valvoline NextGen Dodge) and Ron Capps (Napa Auto Parts Dodge), as well as Top Fuel drivers Brandon Bernstein (MAVTV/Lucas Oil dragster) and Morgan Lucas (GEICO/Lucas Oil dragster). The evening will be hosted by popular NHRA announcer Bob Frey.
The racers will compete in a Texas Hold 'Em Charity Poker Tournament at 6 p.m. sponsored by The 101 Casino. The casino, located in Petaluma, will present a check for $3,500 to Speedway Children's Charities in the name of the player with the most chips after the one-hour tournament.
The Texas Hold'em Tournament will be followed by a wonderful prime rib dinner. Frey, the long-time announcer for the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series, will serve as the master of ceremonies for the evening and will host a Q&A session with the drivers. There will also be a charity drawing.
The event will be hosted at Stone Tree Golf Club, which is less than five miles from the raceway in nearby Novato, providing easy access for fans and race teams.
Tickets for the evening are $125, and include wine/beer and dinner. All proceeds will go to qualified youth groups in Sonoma County in Medlen's name through Speedway Children's Charities, the charitable arm of the raceway.
The event, which has been sold-out each of the last five years, typically boasts a healthy contingent from Eric's hometown of Oakdale, including his mother, Mimi, and his father, John.
Nitro Night also serves as a kick-off to the NHRA Sonoma Nationals, July 27-29. This year's event marks the series' 25th annual visit to the Sonoma Valley and will feature professional competition in the Top Fuel, Funny Car, Pro Stock and Pro Stock Motorcycle classes.