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Wed, 07 Aug 2019, 17:08 PM

More than $44,000 Raised for Sonoma County Kids During NHRA Weekend in Sonoma
Courtesy of Diana Brennan

SONOMA, Calif. - Charitable events combined to raise more than $44,000 for Sonoma County non-profit groups during the 32nd NHRA Sonoma Nationals at Sonoma Raceway, July 26-28.

The proceeds from the majority of events will benefit Sonoma County youth organizations through the Sonoma Chapter of Speedway Children's Charities (SCC), the charitable arm of the raceway, which has distributed more than $6.4 million to qualified youth groups since 2001.

Fundraising kicked off on Thursday, July 25, at the 13th annual Eric Medlen Nitro Night at Viansa Sonoma, which generated more than $29,000 for Sonoma County children. The evening honors the memory of Medlen, a native of Oakdale in the San Joaquin Valley, who succumbed to injuries sustained from a testing accident in 2007, and all proceeds from the evening benefit SCC in Medlen's name. Since its inception, this event has raised more than $332,900.

For the second year, the event honored someone within the drag racing community who embodies Medlen's spirit and has shown support of charitable efforts. This year, 2012 NHRA Funny Car Champion Jack Backman received the Eric Medlen Nitro Night Award. Beckman is a longtime supporter of the Sonoma Chapter of SCC and has even emceed Nitro Night for the past several years. In honor of his recognition, Beckman turned over his hosting duties to longtime drag racing announcer Bob Frey, who hosted the first several years of the event.

More than 140 guests attended the event, which was highlighted by NHRA personalities and drivers, including 2018 honoree Ron Capps, Scotty Pollacheck, Brandon Bernstein and J.R. Todd, as well as Medlen's parents Mimi and John.

Additionally, SCC launched its first SCC Red Bucket Brigade sponsored by First Republic Bank on Friday evening. Volunteers from First Republic Bank and Sonoma Raceway filled the stands to pass red donation buckets through the crowds. The event raised more than $12,400 for Sonoma County children.

Capping off the weekend's charitable efforts was the Eric Medlen Ice Cream Social on Sunday, July 28. Following the final round of eliminations, fans were invited to enjoy a free scoop of ice cream, compliments of Clover Sonoma, and make a donation to SCC. The social raised $1,044. Speedway Children's Charities also received donations through the "Golden Ticket" charity raffle and the "Cash for Kids" display.

For more information about the Sonoma Chapter of Speedway Children's Charities and future charitable events or to make a donation, visit or contact Cheri Plattner at (707) 933-3950 or

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