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CARS Late Model Stock Tour

Mini Tyrrell Honors Ricky Hendrick in Throwback 276

Late Model Stock youngster Mini Tyrrell will honor Ricky Hendrick, son of Hendrick Motorsports founder Rick Hendrick, with the No. 7 Quaker State Chevrolet in the CARS Tour Throwback 276 at Hickory Motor Speedway on July 31.

The green and white wrap pays tribute to the younger Hendrick’s success in the No. 7 Late Model Stock in 1998 and 1999.

Hendrick’s most successful times in his Late Model came at the now-defunct Concord Speedway in North Carolina. Hendrick drove the No. 7 Quaker State Late Model to four victories — including three in 1998.  Tyrrell’s car will include the four winner decals from Hendrick’s victories at Concord.

Following his short track success, Hendrick graduated to a part-time NASCAR Busch Grand National Series schedule for a team operated by Jeff Gordon and Ray Evernham — Gordon-Evernham Motorsports. The foundation of this team later became JG Motorsports in 2000 and because the No. 48 Cup Series team for Jimmie Johnson.

In 2001, Hendrick raced full-time in the NASCAR Truck Series for his family team where he scored 19 top-10 finishes in 24 races. The highlight of his season was a win on July 7, 2001 at Kansas Speedway where he celebrated with his parents in Victory Lane.

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After becoming a full-time driver in the Busch Grand National Series for Hendrick Motorsports in 2002, Ricky sustained a serious shoulder injury in a March crash at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Following surgery, he missed eight weeks of action before returning in May. However, after suffering lingering effects from the injury, he made the difficult decision to permanently leave the driver’s seat in October 2002.

Hendrick became an executive with the racing organization and was instrumental in recruiting Johnson, Kyle Busch, and Brian Vickers to the team. On October 24, 2004, Ricky was tragically killed in a plane crash along with nine other members of the Hendrick Motorsports and NASCAR community en route to a race at Martinsville Speedway. He was just 24 years old.

In a tradition that began when Jimmie Johnson won at Atlanta Motor Speedway the week after the tragic plane crash in 2004, whenever a Hendrick Motorsports driver wins a NASCAR race, every member of the winning race team will turn their hat around backwards in Victory Lane and point skyward to honor Ricky’s memory and everlasting impact.

Tickets for the 4th Annual Honeywell Homes “Throwback 276” presented by Baker Distributing are $20 in advance and $25 at the gate on sale via the CARS Tour website at www.carsracingtour.com.

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Matt Weaver is the owner and founder of Short Track Scene. Weaver grew up in the sport, having raced himself before becoming a reporter in college at the University of South Alabama. He is also the associate motorsports editor of Autoweek Magazine and its website, which allows him to cover the highest levels of the sport.

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