Armless NASCAR Team Engineer to be Featured on Sunday ESPN "SportsCenter"
Hendrick Motorsports is one of the most successful racing teams in NASCAR, fielding cars for former NASCAR Sprint Cup champions Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon as well as Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Kasey Kahne.
A part of the team’s continued success is engineer Richie Parker, who works behind-the-scenes at the team’s North Carolina headquarters. But as ESPN’s Tom Rinaldi reports for SportsCenter Featured, Parker is a remarkable story of success in his own right: born without arms, his determination and talent have led him to the top of NASCAR.
The feature will air during ESPN’s flagship news and information program SportsCenter on Sunday, July 21, at 10 a.m. ET on ESPN2.
Some quotes from the feature:
“It’s very demanding. 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 on the demands of being a vehicle engineer at Hendrick Motorsports.
“Based on his resume, I knew he could do the things that I needed him to do, it was more a question of how?” -- Rex Stump, engineering manager at Hendrick, on his impressions of Parker during his initial job interview.
“I just didn’t know what to ask at that point, what to say, because I’m thinking, how are we going to get through this? How would he eat, how would he drive, how would he open doors, how would he do just the normal day to day things?” -- Lottie Parker, Richie’s mom on what she felt after doctors told her he was born without arms.
“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 on his experience getting his 1964 Chevy Impala adapted with foot steering.
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