Eric Medlen, Brandon Bernstein, Morgan Lucas, J.R. Todd, and Ashley Force were nitro racing's "Brat Pack," a tight-knit group of young professional racers who not only shared the thrills of competition together, but also the joys of life. In this special remembrance, Bernstein, Lucas, and Todd share their thoughts about their buddy.
 
Last summer, Eric Medlen spent a day with National DRAGSTER Associate Editor Candida Benson showing her "the ropes," as it were, teaching her how to rope calves. This article, presented in PDF format, originally appeared in the Sept. 29, 2006 issue of National DRAGSTER.
 
Reverend Larry Smiley, President of Racers For Christ, offers introspection on the passing of Eric Medlen. "Life is fragile," he writes. "We become familiar with those around us. We expect them to be at the next race. We expect them to answer the phone when we call. We expect to read about their superhuman exploits on the racetrack. What we donít expect is for them to die."
E-mail address at which fans can remember Medlen
BP/Castrol, which established a special e-mail address for get-well messages while Eric Medlen was fighting for his life, has set up a new address at which fans and friends can offer condolences to his family. Fans can leave their messages at goodbyeeric@castrol.com. Those messages will be assembled, printed, and placed in a scrapbook that will be presented to the family.

 
Eric Medlen was one of the sport's most popular racers. Known for his good humor, vivacious nature, and ever-present smile, Medlen is remembered by his fellow racers and other friends of the sport. Cruz and Tony Pedregon, Ron Capps, Gary Scelzi, Cory McClenathan, Del Worsham, Larry Dixon, and many more of his peers share their thoughts. Said Tony Pedregon (pictured), "I respected Eric not just as a friend but also as a driver and competitor. I am privileged to have been able to work with someone with so much talent and ability." (Updated 3-26)
 
Eric Medlen always had time for a fan. Whether it be a young child or a veteran fan, he always made the time.

Fan video tributes (on YouTube)

  • Eric Medlen
  • Eric Medlen his love, his life
  • Eric Medlen Tribute
  • Eric Medlen Tribute 1973-2007 RIP
  • Eric Medlen
  •  
    Eric Medlen, 33, who had emerged as one of the most popular young drivers in the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series, succumbed March 23 to injuries suffered when his race car crashed into a guardwall during a Monday test session at Gainesville Raceway. The talented Funny Car driver never regained consciousness.

    "Eric Medlen was the son I never had," said team owner John Force. "He was the leader of my next generation of drivers."

     
    The relationship that Eric Medlen, driver of the Castrol Syntec Ford Mustang Funny Car, had with his crew chief was like father and son. Because it was father and son. Medlen's father, John, has been a crew chief at John Force Racing since 1996, winning a championship with Tony Pedregon in 2003. In Ď06, son and father teamed to finish in fourth place in the NHRA POWERade standings for the second straight year. Eric Medlen's life story.
     
    Medlen statistics
    CAREER HIGHLIGHTS
    National event wins
  • 2004 Brainerd
  • 2005 Seattle
  • 2005 Brainerd
  • 2005 Memphis
  • 2006 Sonoma
  • 2006 Richmond

  • Earned three 2005 tour victories, equaling the total of series champion Gary Scelzi.
  • Became the fourth different driver to win an NHRA national event in a John Force Racing Ford Mustang when he prevailed at Brainerd, Minn., in 2004.
  • Earned 55 total victories with John Force Racing – six as driver of the Castrol Syntec Ford, one as a crewmember on the Syntec Ford (1996) and 48 as a crewmember on John Force's championship-winning Fords (1997-2003).

    YEAR-BY-YEAR HIGHLIGHTS

  • 2006: Was perfect 2-for-2 in final round appearances; Matched career-best finish of fourth place in POWERade standings; Advanced out of the first round at 17 of 23 events
  • 2005: Collected three wins in five final round appearances; Vaulted over teammate Robert Hight with runner-up finish at season-ending race to earn career-best fourth place finish in POWERade Series standings; Earned three No. 1 qualifiers
  • 2004: Earned first career victory (Brainerd); Was the top qualifier at Englishtown and Reading; Finished fifth in the final POWERade point standings in his first season of Funny Car competition; Qualified for all 23 events; With a 29-22 won-loss record in elimination rounds, he was one of seven full-time Funny Car drivers to have a winning percentage over .500; was a finalist for the Automobile Club of Southern California Road to the Future Award identifying the top rookie in the NHRA POWERade Series and the top rookie in the Funny Car division
  •  
    Eric Medlen video highlights
  • Sonoma 2006
  • Memphis 2005
  • Brainerd 2005
  • Seattle 2005
  • Brainerd 2004

  • Eric Medlen had some pretty amazing mentors. Fourteen-time NHRA champ John Force (above) taught him most of what he knew about driving a Funny Car. Two-time PRCA world champion Jerold Camarillo (right) was his calf-roping mentor.
    Medlen donations
    John Force Racing has announced that in lieu of flowers donations may be made to:
    McKnight Brain Institute
    P.O. Box 100015
    Gainesville, Florida 32610
    Attn: Karen Yankee

    Or

    Drag Racing Association of Women
    4 Hance Drive
    Charleston, IL 61920
    www.drawonline.org

    Photo Gallery


    Eric Medlen and his father John enjoyed an amazing relationship on and off the track.


    NHRA's "Brat Pack" consisted of, from left, Morgan Lucas, Brandon Bernstein, Medlen, Ashley Force, and (not pictured) J.R. Todd.


    Medlen was popular with the fans, not just for his canny driving style, but for his outgoing personality as well.


    The Medlens celebrated their final victory together last October in Richmond, Va.


    Medlen, like his mentor John Force, was a popular interview thanks to a wild enthusiasm and a frenetic delivery.


    Medlen wasn't just a driver, he also knew how to work on his hot rod, racing his way up from wrench-slinger to star driver.


    Medlen scored the first of his six career wins in his 2004 rookie campaign in Brainerd, Minn.


    With teammate Robert Hight, Medlen represented the first steps in John Force Racing's Next Generation movement.


    Medlen won all six of his Funny Car trophies in a Ford Mustang sponsored by Castrol Syntec.


    This season, Medlen was campaigning for Force in the Auto Club/Pleasant Holidays Ford.


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