Eric Lane, crew chief on Cruz Pedregon’s Snap-on Tools Funny Car and a veteran mechanic of the NHRA nitro pits, was struck and killed by a car while walking back from a restaurant Oct. 19 near Mineral Wells, Texas. He was 47.
The team had competed at the AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals and was taking time off between the Dallas and Houston NHRA races to enjoy fishing and being together away from the track.
“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. “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.”
Snap-on also issues a statement through chief marketing officer Samuel Bottum, who said, “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.”
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 had the opportunity to work and learn from crew chief Jimmy Prock and was a member of Robert Hight’s championship-winning team.
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. Lane joined Pedregon’s team for the 2020 season.
Lane leaves behind his wife, Kelly, and their daughter, Melaynee.