Richie Parker: An Engineer, An Inspiration

by Jim on August 2, 2013

There are those who look at the way things are, and ask why….IRichie Parker dream of things that never were, and ask why not?- Robert F. Kennedy

There are those who will not accept limits. If there is an obstacle standing in the way, they will either go over it, around it, through it, or remove it. The world of NASCAR has seen its share of those who have overcome. Wendell Scott became the first man of color to win a NASCAR Grand National race in spite of prejudice and limited resources. Red Byron overcame war injuries that left him crippled to become NASCAR’s first champion. Among these examples and others, we can add Hendrick Motorsports engineer Richie Parker. For eight years, the South Carolina native has worked with HMS, and today, he’s a chassis and body component designer for the sport’s most successful organization.

Parker drives a cherry 1964 Chevy Impala that would be the envy of any car enthusiast. He opens doors, operates computers, and does virtually all the things you and I do……in spite of the fact the 30-year was born without arms.

Such achievers aren’t usually alone. Master mechanic Red Vogt devised a way to strap Byron’s feet to the pedals. Scott received help from some of his NASCAR peers when funds were short. Parker’s “can do” attitude can be found in his parents, Tracy and Lottie Parker. “We’re going to make it work” sums up Mrs. Parker’s attitude.

I can describe it for you with words, or you can see it for yourself. Here’s a link to a story by Tom Rinaldi for ESPN. Yours trule first learned of it through a segment of ABC’s evening news. This inspiring story is well worth a few minutes of your time (click here).

If your family or someone you know has an obstacle- be it a physical challenge, or whatever, may this story offer you hope and courage to persevere. Determination is the fuel that has energized the Richie Parkers of the world. I know his story has inspired me.

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