MINERAL WELLS, Texas – Eric Lane, the co-crew chief for Cruz Pedregon Racing and known to many in the drag-racing industry as “Hop,” was struck and killed by a car while walking back from a restaurant Monday night in north-central Texas.
A resident of Avon, Ind., Lane was 47.
According to a report from the Weatherford Democrat, which cites a Texas Department of Public Safety report, Lane was lying on U.S. 180 in Mineral Wells “for an undetermined reason” when he was hit by a passing car.
In nine national events this year, Lane had helped guide Pedregon to two quarterfinal appearances, as well as a season-best qualifying effort of third at World Wide Technology Raceway earlier this month.
The Cruz Pedregon Racing team was taking time off between the Dallas and Houston NHRA races to enjoy fishing and being together away from the track when the tragic accident occurred.
“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 Cruz Pedregon, driver of the Snap-on Dodge Funny Car. “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.”
Prior to joining Cruz Pedregon Racing, Lane worked as an integral part of the Tasca Racing Funny Car program, guiding New England veteran Bob Tasca III.
He also previously worked with 2016 NHRA Funny Car champion Ron Capps and both Kenny and Brandon Bernstein during their standout drag racing careers before joining Pedregon’s Funny Car operation.
“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,” said Samuel Bottum, chief marketing officer for Snap-on, Pedregon’s primary sponsor. “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.”
Lane leaves behind his wife Kelly and their daughter Melaynee, as well as a legacy of dedication to the sport of drag racing.