NHRA Co-Crew Chief Killed in Car-Pedestrian Accident in Texas

The NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series community suffered a tragic loss on Oct. 19, as Eric Lane, co-crew chief for Cruz Pedregon Racing was struck and killed by a car while walking back from a restaurant near Mineral Wells, Texas.

The team was taking time off between the this past weekend’s Dallas NHRA event and this weekend’s race at Baytown, Texas, to enjoy a little fishing and being together away from the track.

Lane, who was known by many as “Hop”, was 47.

“Eric was energetic and shared the same enthusiasm for the sport as I do. 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,” said Pedregon, driver of the Snap-on Dodge. “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.

“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.”

According to the NHRA, Lane began his racing career with Gary Densham Racing in 1998 after graduating from Universal Technical Institute in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif. He worked with Densham Racing until 2001 when Densham began racing under the John Force Racing organization. Lane then worked with crew chief Jimmy Prock and was a member of Robert Hight’s championship-winning team.

“Words can’t express how brokenhearted I was when I heard this news.”

Lane later went on to work under Rahn Tobler on the Ron Capps-driven NAPA Auto Parts Dodge and was instrumental in the rebuilding of Bob Tasca III’s Ford team.

“Words can’t express how brokenhearted I was when I heard this news,” Tasca told Autoweek. “Eric was full of life and loved by so many people. I was blessed to have known him. Let’s all keep his family in our prayers. Godspeed, my friend. So, so sad.”

Lane, who lived in Avon, Indiana, is survived by his wife Kelly and their daughter Melaynee.

“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 standout professionals,” said Samuel Bottum, Snap-on chief marketing officer and team sponsor.

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