CONCORD, N.C. – When the NASCAR circuit returns to Kansas Speedway, one victory always sticks out to the Hendrick Motorsports family. 

On July 7, 2001, Ricky Hendrick, the son of team owner Rick Hendrick and his wife Linda won in the NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series. The organization ran full-time Truck Series entries from 1995 to 2001 and won three championships with Jack Sprague. 

Complete list of all national series wins for Hendrick Motorsports

Driving the No. 17 Chevrolet (which you can see in the Hendrick Motorsports Museum at the team's Concord, North Carolina, campus), Ricky Hendrick was near the front of the field all day. Sprague, his teammate, led a race-high 80 laps but had trouble late in the race, allowing Hendrick to capitalize. He led the final 24 laps of the first truck race held at Kansas to earn the win with crew chief Lance McGrew (the win was also his first as a crew chief at the national series level). Three months after his 21st birthday, the victory was Ricky Hendrick's lone triumph in the Truck Series ranks. At the time, he became the youngest winner in the history of the Truck Series. The celebration saw an emotional father and son embrace in victory lane. You can view highlights from the race here

Ricky Hendrick races the No. 17 Chevrolet Silverado at Kansas Speedway on July 7, 2001.

"I just remember how nervous we were coming down to the end of that race," Rick Hendrick said. "When he got out of the truck, we all embraced and we were all crying.

"Going into the media center and watching him up there on the stage talking about the race and getting questions from the media was so special because I can remember when he was just old enough to talk, talking about racing. It ran in his blood. That one will always be special to us."

Ricky Hendrick finished sixth in the points standings in the 2001 season with eight top-five finishes and 19 top-10s. After making a handful of starts in the NASCAR Xfinity Series from 1999 to 2001, he ran most of the schedule for the No. 5 entry in 2002. Following that season, Hendrick stopped driving in NASCAR and transitioned into the car owner side. He was the championship-winning car owner for Brian Vickers' 2003 Xfinity title.

Ricky Hendrick passed away at the age of 24 in the Oct. 24, 2004, plane accident that also took the lives of nine others. His legacy lives on at Hendrick Motorsports and the Team Operations Center bears his name. After each victory, teammates wear their caps backward and point to the sky to pay tribute to Ricky Hendrick.

Kyle Larson, team vice chairman Jeff Gordon and the No. 5 team honor Ricky Hendrick after a victory at Richmond Raceway on his birthday, April 2, 2023.

The No. 17 is Hendrick Motorsports' car number for its part-time Xfinity Series entry. The paint scheme mirrors the one Ricky Hendrick drove in the Truck Series. In March of 2024 at Circuit of The Americas, Kyle Larson won in the car number for the first time since the team's Xfinity program returned in 2022. 

RELATED: Xfinity Series win a source of pride for Hendrick Motorsports

"It means a lot to race the car with that number," Larson said after winning with a last-lap pass where he came from third on the final lap. "I got to talk to Rick and Linda (Hendrick) there before pulling into victory lane and you could hear how proud they were to see that car in victory lane."