In the NHRA, safety is paramount, then racing for new records, and big rewards.
Eric was a team member of the John Force Racing team (JFR) from 1998 when he began as a mechanic, and spent time on the superchargers, clutches, and other mechanic duties.
In 2003 he was rewarded with a funny car seat, and won Rookie of the Year! He stayed in the top 5 points standings for 2005 and 2006 and won 6 times in his 1st 3 years. The tv show "Driving Force" chronicling the business of John Force and family ended season one with Eric Medlen winning at Sonoma. http://www.nhra.com/2006/forceblogs.asp
"He was the leader of my next generation of drivers." John Force. http://www.johnforceracing.com/
JFR will not participate in the O'Reilly Nats, the next after the catastrophic race, in order to recoup from the tire explosion (and study causes of in order to increase future safety improvements) that is a result of "tire blow-out and an extreme vibration beyond anything previously recorded in the sport" , and the first fatality in NHRA funny cars since 1969.
From http://www.johnforceracing.com/ team news ... The tire blowout started a event chain that caused Eric's car to crash into the guard rail, so violently that Eric had head concussions that couldn't be negated through surgery to reduce swelling and brain tissue hemmorrhaging.