The 5th annual Eric Medlen Nitro Night Charity Dinner raised a record amount of $31,400 for the Sonoma Chapter of Speedway Children’s Charities on Thursday night at Stone Tree Golf Club in Novato.

The gala was held in honor of Medlen, a native of Oakdale in the San Joaquin Valley. He succumbed in March, 2007, to injuries sustained from a testing accident. Medlen, who called Infineon Raceway his home track, won the Funny Car title in Sonoma in 2006 and competed for John Force Racing.

More than 120 people attended the gala, including NHRA racers Jack Beckman, Ron Capps, Eric Enders, Morgan Lucas and Melanie Troxel.

“We love coming out and supporting Speedway Children’s Charities,” Beckman said. “This is a great event and I make it out every year I can.”

The total raised included $2,500 from a Texas Hold ‘Em Charity Poker Tournament held prior to the dinner. Coyote Valley Casino, located in Redwood Valley, hosted the tournament and presented the check to Speedway Children’s Charities in the name of Rob Geiger, a public relations representative on the NHRA circuit, who won the tournament.  He defeated Beckman in the finals.

Speedway Children’s Charities, the charitable arm of Infineon Raceway, has generated more than $3.7 million for qualified youth organizations in the Sonoma County since 2001.

Thursday’s night’s gala was held in advance of the 24th annual FRAM/Autolite NHRA Nationals, which is taking place at Infineon Raceway this weekend.


24th annual FRAM/Autolite NHRA Nationals
WHAT: Big O Tires Racing Season Presents: FRAM/Autolite NHRA Nationals
WHEN: July 29-31
CIRCUIT: Drag strip
2010 TOP QUALIFIERS: Larry Dixon (Top Fuel); Jack Beckman (Funny Car); Allen Johnson (Pro Stock); Hector Arana (Pro Stock Motorcycle)
2010 WINNERS: Larry Dixon (Top Fuel); Ron Capps (Funny Car); Jeg Coughlin (Pro Stock); Michael Phillips (Pro Stock Motorcycle)
TICKETS: $50-$60 single day/$135 weekend; parking is FREE