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July 23, 2012
Nitro Night gala honors Funny Car star Medlen

A popular Funny Car racer from San Joaquin Valley will be remembered Thursday evening at the sixth annual Eric Medlen Nitro Night Charity Dinner at the Stone Tree Golf Club in Novato.

The kickoff event for this week's NHRA Sonoma Nationals, the charity gala honors Oakdale's Eric Medlen, the 2006 NHRA Funny Car champion at Sonoma. Medlen, a driver for John Force Racing, was killed in March 2007 during a testing accident in Florida.

Several NHRA stars will turn out for Thursday's dinner, including Medlen's former teammate Ashley Force-Hood. Also expected are Funny Car drivers Jack Beckman and Ron Capps and Top Fuel drivers Brandon Bernstein and Morgan Lucas. NHRA announcer Bob Frey will serve as emcee.

The gala has sold out five previous years. Tickets for the evening are $125, and include wine, beer and prime rib dinner. All proceeds will go to Sonoma County youth groups in Medlen's name through Speedway Children's Charities.

For Nitro Night tickets, call (707) 933-3950 or e-mail

The 25th annual NHRA Sonoma Nationals are set for Friday through Sunday at the Sonoma raceway. For more information, visit or call (800) 870-7223.

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