Eric Lane, a veteran tuner in the NHRA’s nitro ranks and co-crew chief for Cruz Pedregon Racing, tragically lost his life when he was struck and killed by a car while walking back from a restaurant near Mineral Wells, Texas on Monday evening. The team was reportedly taking time off between the Dallas and Houston NHRA national events this week to enjoy fishing and being together away from the track.
“Eric was energetic and shared the same enthusiasm for the sport as I do,” said Pedregon. “He was known for his skill in working with NHRA teams but even more so for his upbeat personality and bringing smiles to everyone on the team and those who stopped by the pit. He joined the team officially for the 2020 season but worked with us for three races at the end of last season. He worked closely with his best friend and our co-crew chief Nick Casertano and previously with many of the top names in the business. The sport has lost one of its very best.
The 47-year-old Lane had joined Pedregon’s Snap-On Tools team in the offseason, partnering with Nick Casertano to tune Pedregon’s Dodge Charger.
“We were just coming into our own, Eric, Nick, and I, in turning the car around, and his contributions will be a big part of our success moving forward. I’m so proud of Nick, who is set on doing the right thing for his best friend, for Eric’s family, and for the team. We’re still taking it all in, but as a tight-knit group we will be getting together and do what we know Eric would want us to do and that’s focus on the race ahead in Houston.”
“Snap-on has been a part of the motorsports community for decades, and, as a sponsor, we have close working relationships with the teams and individuals who wear the company’s name. Our hearts go out to Eric’s family and we mourn with Cruz, the team, and the entire NHRA family on the loss of one of drag racing’s stand-out professionals,” said Samuel Bottum, Snap-on chief marketing officer.
According to local news reports, Lane was lying on U.S. 180 near Mineral Wells State Park and was struck and killed by a passing vehicle at around 11:40 p.m. Texas Department of Public Safety troopers investigated the accident.
“Preliminary investigation indicates a 2018 Chevrolet Cruz, driven by 43-year-old Candy L. Lister of Mineral Wells, was traveling west on U.S. 180,” according to DPS Sgt. Richard Hunter. “For an undetermined reason, a pedestrian, identified as Eric Jason Lane, 47, of Avon, Indiana, was lying in the roadway of U.S. 180. Lister was not able to avoid striking Lane who was pronounced deceased at the scene.”
Lane began his career in professional drag racing with Gary Densham in 1998 after his graduation from Universal Technical Institute. Lane followed Densham to John Force Racing in 2001, where he had the opportunity to shadow Jimmy Prock. He later worked for Don Schumacher Racing alongside Rahn Tobler before joining Bob Tasca’s team in 2018.
Lane leaves behind his wife, Kelly, and their daughter, Melaynee.