Hendrick Motorsports, the most winningest team in NASCAR history, is home to more than championships, it’s the employer of one particularly gifted engineer. Richie Parker, 30, of Beaufort, South Carolina, is a chassis and body component designer for Hendrick Motorsports. Born without arms, Parker has worked at Hendrick for 8 years, witnessing 5 championships.
“We wanted his childhood to be as close to any other child’s childhood as possible,” said Lottie Parker, Richie’s mother. “That has always been our attitude: we are going to make it work. We might just do it differently, but it will work.”
Growing up with parents determined to give him the best shot at an American dream; Parker achieved a “normal life” using homemade tools that assisted him at eating, opening the refrigerator door, and driving a car.
“If a bicycle gave him a certain degree of freedom, the car I think gave him a greater amount of independence and pride,” said Tracy Parker, Richie’s father. “When he’s in that car, everyone’s on the same level.”
At 15-years-old, Parker purchased his dream car: a 1964 Chevrolet Impala SS. He drives the car regularly to this day, to and from work. Washing the car, fixing the exhaust, and everything else that goes with owning a classic, Parker does himself. The young man lets nothing keep him down. “I don’t listen to much to people when they tell me I can’t do something,” said Richie Parker. “There’s not a whole lot that’s going to stand in my way.”
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