Richie Parker overcame being born without arms to become a chassis and body component designer for Hendrick Motorsports.
Hendrick Motorsports gave Richie Parker a chance, and it's turned out to be a win-win for the NASCAR team and for a team engineer who was born without arms. Parker works at the team's North Carolina race shop.
“It's very demanding," said Parker of his job working for one of the top teams in the history of the sport. "When we have somebody like [crew chief] Chad Knaus that comes back from the racetrack and he says he needs something next week that's gonna help him win a race, then 'no' is never the answer.”
Parker is a 2009 graduate of Clemson University, and he first connected with Hendrick Motorsports through an internship in 2005. Parker applied for the position through NASCAR's Drive for Diversity program, and that 10-week internship turned into a relationship that landed him a full-time job with Hendrick.
"Based on his resume, I knew he could do the things that I needed him to do, it was more a question of how,” said Rex Stump, engineering manager at Hendrick, on his impressions of Parker during his initial job interview.
Parker has always been a fan of cars, and he spends time refurbishing old cars and adapting the ones he really likes with foot steering mechanisms.
“When we were trying to figure out how I could modify a car, I was told by a few different people, 'Well, if there's a bus in your area, or if there are taxi cabs, then that's all you need to do. You just use that as your transportation.' But that just wasn't me,” Parker said about getting his 1964 Chevy Impala adapted with foot steering.
Skills & Expertise Automotive Finite Element Analysis Solidworks Unigraphics Teamcenter Machining CAD
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