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Tue, 16 Jul 2013, 17:30 PM

7th annual Eric Medlen Nitro Night Charity Dinner, July 25
Courtesy of Diana Brennan

SONOMA, Calif. -- Sonoma Raceway will honor the memory of Oakdale's Eric Medlen during the 7th annual Eric Medlen Nitro Night Charity Dinner at nearby Stone Tree Golf Club on Thursday, July 25. The gala is presented by Raymond Costa/McDonald's.

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 evening, including Ashley Force-Hood, Funny Car drivers Jack Beckman (Valvoline Dodge), Ron Capps (Napa Auto Parts Dodge Charger) and Josh Crawford (Pacific Truck Repair Dodge Charger), plus Top Fuel drivers Morgan Lucas (GEICO Powersports/Lucas Oil dragster) and Brandon Bernstein (Protect the Harvest/MavTV dragster). The evening will be hosted by ESPN NHRA commentator Dave Rieff.

The racers will compete in a Texas Hold 'Em Charity Poker Tournament starting at 6 p.m. The tournament will be followed by a delicious prime rib dinner. Rieff, the long-time host for ESPN's NHRA coverage, 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 again be hosted at Stone Tree Golf Club, which is less than five miles from the raceway in 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 six 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 26-28. This year's event marks the series' 26th annual visit to the Sonoma Valley and will feature professional competition in the Top Fuel, Funny Car, Pro Stock and Pro Stock Motorcycle classes.

For more information or to purchase tickets for the Eric Medlen Nitro Night Dinner, contact Melinda Pahl at 707-933-3950 or email

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