Rick Hendrick Proud of the Tribute to His Late Son With Kyle Larson Winning at COTA

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For Hendrick Motorsports and Rick Hendrick, their win in the Xfinity Series race at the Circuit of the Americas meant the world. But why would a part-time Xfinity Series race win mean so much? Well, it’s all about the number Kyle Larson ran when he took the checkered flag. The #17 used to be Mr. H’s son, Ricky Hendrick’s number when he ran in the Truck Series and even the paint scheme was similar. He was one of the 10 people who unfortunately lost their lives in the plane crash in 2004, which is considered to be one of the darkest days in the history of HMS.
Hendrick Motorsports’ passion project, the #17
That’s not all either. In a recent interview on SiriusXM Radio, the team’s VP of Competition and former crew chief Chad Gnaus spoke about how the #17 Xfinity Series project meant a lot to everyone involved in the team. It was the first victory in the competition for the team since they returned in 2022 and the reaction to the victory clearly shows just how important it will be in the history of Hendrick Motorsports.
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“It’s just been a bit of a passion project for all of us here at HMS and it’s really a great opportunity to cultivate young talent and give our drivers an opportunity to get exposure and experience at these tracks. We’ve wanted to get that #17 in victory lane since it started and it just has been a struggle. We’ve had a tremendous amount of speed with that program and great guys have led that thing from the onset and we have just worked so hard and haven’t been able to close the deal. We all know the history with Ricky Hendrick and the red, white, and blue and all of that goes along with it. It was just very emotional and made Mr Hendrick proud. We’re glad to be able to bring that home for him,” he said.
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Gnaus was one of the many people who was quite pleased with how well things had worked out in the COTA race. Jeff Gordon also was a proud man as his long-time friend and boss finally achieved a dream that he had for quite a long time.
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Jeff Gordon expresses his pride as Rick Hendrick achieves a long-time dream
The dream was to win a road course race in the Xfinity Series, something that Hendrick Motorsports had not yet achieved in their illustrious history. Gordon was made aware of this desire when he saw the look on Rick Hendrick’s face during a race weekend at Watkins Glen where the loudspeakers blared HMS’ lack of road course success in the competition.
“I remember sitting on the pit box with Rick (Hendrick) at Watkins Glen (International) during an Xfinity race. I remember Rick hearing over the loudspeaker how Hendrick Motorsports had never won an Xfinity race on a road course. I remember the look in his eye and how fired up he was. I’m quite certain that day is when we started adding more races to our Xfinity program. With the 17, how special that number is. That was truly special,” he said as per an article from Hendrick Motorsports.
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Now that dream has been achieved, Rick Hendrick will certainly be looking to add to that tally in the future. Even as a part-time team, Hendrick Motorsports has what it takes to achieve a lot of success in the Xfinity Series. Will the project see an expansion after Kyle Larson’s success at COTA? Let us know your thoughts.

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