Charitable events combined to raise more than $77,000 for Sonoma County nonprofit groups during the 27th NHRA Sonoma Nationals at Sonoma Raceway, July 25-27.

The proceeds from the majority of events will benefit Sonoma County youth organizations through the Sonoma Chapter of Speedway Children’s Charities, the charitable arm of the raceway, which has distributed more than $4.5 million to qualified youth groups since 2001.

Fundraising kicked off on Thursday, July 24, at the eighth annual Eric Medlen Nitro Night, presented by Pacific Gas & Electric Company (PG&E), which raised more than $26,000.

The evening honors the memory of Medlen, a native of Oakdale in the San Joaquin Valley, who succumbed in March 2007, to injuries sustained from a testing accident. Medlen was a member of John Force Racing.

A number of popular NHRA personalities highlighted the evening, including Jack Beckman, Brandon Bernstein, Ron Capps, Richie Crampton, Brittany Force, Courtney Force, Ashley Force Hood, Morgan Lucas, Scott Pollacheck and J.R. Todd. More than 100 attendees turned out for the dinner at Stone Tree Golf club in Novato, including Medlen’s mother, Mimi, and his father, John.

Highlights of the evening included a Texas Hold’em-style charity poker tournament, presented by McDonald’s/Costa Organization, and the auction of a custom, engraved wine bottle, which went for $6,000. All proceeds from the evening will benefit SCC in Medlen’s name.

Additional funds were also raised from donations at the Eric Medlen Ice Cream Social on Sunday, July 27. Following the final round of elimination, fans were invited to enjoy a free scoop of ice cream, compliments of Dreyer’s Grand Ice Cream. This event also honors Medlen’s memory and fans are encouraged to make donations to SCC.

In addition to the proceeds generated for SCC, Levy Restaurants, the official caterer of Sonoma Raceway, hosted eight local nonprofit groups to support concession stands around the facility. In return for their hard work, Levy gives back a portion of sales to support those nonprofit organizations.

These groups, including Air Force Sergeants 1372, California Martial Arts, Fairfield Falcons Youth Football, Native Sons of the Golden West, Omega Foundation of Santa Clara, Petaluma High School Athletics Booster, Vallejo Junior Jaguars Youth Football and Vallejo Raiders Youth Football received a total of more than $48,000 from NHRA weekend.

For more information about the Sonoma Chapter of Speedway Children’s Charities or to make a donation, visit or contact Cheri Plattner at 933-3950 or If your nonprofit group is interested in working with Levy Restaurants at an upcoming event, contact Victoria Campbell at or 939-1454.