Charitable events combined to raise more than $78,000 for Northern California nonprofit groups during the 30th Toyota NHRA Sonoma Nationals at Sonoma Raceway last month.
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 $5.6 million to qualified youth groups since 2001.
Fundraising kicked off July 27 at the 11th annual Eric Medlen Nitro Night, which raised more than $28,000. 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. All proceeds from the evening benefit SCC in Medlen’s name. Since its inception, this event has raised more than $268,000.
A number of popular NHRA personalities highlighted the evening, including emcee Jack Beckman, Ron Capps, Scotty Pollacheck, Austin Prock, Dean “Guido” Antonelli and Eric Lane. Almost 100 attendees turned out for the dinner, including Medlen’s mother, Mimi, and his father, John.
Additionally, more than $2,400 was raised from donations at the Eric Medlen Ice Cream Social on July 30. 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. Speedway Children’s Charities also netted donations through an NHRA online auction as well as the “Let’s Go Karting” charity raffle.
In addition to the proceeds generated for SCC, Levy Restaurants, the official caterer of Sonoma Raceway, hosted six 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 the nonprofit organizations. These groups included the California Martial Arts Institute, Cotati-Rancho Unified School District, Petaluma Elks Lodge 901, Native Sons of the Golden West, Ohana Wa’a Outrigger Canoe Club and Vallejo Raiders Youth Football. They received a total of $46,000 from NHRA weekend.
Levy Restaurants also donated almost 1,500 pounds of food to Food Runners, a San Francisco-based nonprofit that collects and distributes quality, perishable and prepared foods to those in need.
As part of NHRA’s “Project Nitro Hugs,” fans attending the Toyota NHRA Sonoma Nationals were able to purchase stuffed Nitro Dogs, which were donated to first responders in Sonoma County including the California Highway Patrol, Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office and Falck Northern California/verihealth ambulance services. The goal of the program, which is part of NHRA’s efforts to salute First Responders in 2017, is to collect stuffed animals for first responders to give to children they encounter in traumatic situations and to comfort a child in need.