There’s some complex term for Richie Parker’s medical condition. He can’t remember it offhand and as far as he’s concerned, it doesn’t matter anyway.

Parker was born without arms and stands about 5 feet tall.

But that doesn’t stop the 26-year-old from doing most of the things anyone else can do – and then some. Parker is an engineer in the chassis shop at Hendrick Motorsports, designing components and performing meticulous mechanical inspections for NASCAR’s equivalent to the New York Yankees.

“Just make the best of every situation,” he said. “It’s not really a limitation. You just see things from a different perspective. A lot of times, that’s a good thing.”

After earning a degree in mechanical engineering from Clemson in 2005, Parker combined his college experience with a boyhood love of cars to go to work for Hendrick.

Some people might consider Parker’s ability to operate complex computer programs with his feet remarkable. But as far as he’s concerned, he’s just one of the guys.

“I think so,” Parker said. “I would hope so. I think after four years I feel that way.”

Other Hendrick crew members certainly treat him that way, engaging in the same sort of friendly back-and-forth banter you’d find outside any other NASCAR team trailer before a recent race at Michigan International Speedway.

But don’t take that to mean that they aren’t impressed.

“Nothing stops him,” said Kevin Meendering, assistant race engineer for Jeff Gordon at Hendrick. “If he needs to do something, he’ll try it by himself first before he asks. He’s probably one of the hardest workers on our complex, puts in more hours than anybody. His disability doesn’t slow him down at all. He just wants to be treated as an employee, as a regular person. That’s how he works.”

One day, Hendrick research and development manager Jim Long was surprised to find Parker working underneath a car after somehow jacking it up and placing it on jack stands on his own. Then somebody showed Parker how to weld — and he mastered it.

“You watch him sit there on the computer, he uses his feet with the mouse and with the typing, it absolutely amazes me,” Long said. “You would never know he has a disability in a million years.”

Parker drives a street car outfitted with a steering wheel on the floor. He’s in the process of restoring a few old cars in his spare time and plans to install foot-operated control systems he’s designing himself.

“I’ve got old Chevys — probably more than I need,” he said, laughing.

With Parker around, Meendering says it’s hard for anybody on the Hendrick team to feel sorry for themselves when things get tough.

“He’s an inspiration to anybody,” Meendering said. “You think sometimes how hard things are for yourself, and then you look at him and how hard he tries to do stuff and it just makes you work that much harder.”

Parker started working on computers in school, just like any other kid. He just worked with his feet instead of his hands.

Wasn’t that difficult?

“Not really,” he said. “Not in my mind. It’s the only way I know. I don’t really have an option. You expect the best of all situations. It wasn’t that tough at all.”

Cars were Parker’s passion, a love fueled by uncles who always seemed to be tinkering under the hood. He went to Clemson hoping to find a job in the automotive industry.

Parker wasn’t a NASCAR fan but some of his classmates were, so he started looking into the sport. He ended up applying for a job through NASCAR’s diversity program — Parker is black — and landed a 10-week internship at Hendrick in 2005 that quickly turned into a full-time job.

“I think NASCAR’s like any other place,” Parker said. “You come in and you work hard, and prove that you’re there to do your job and help the team win, and that’s what it’s all about. That’s what it’s all about to me, and I think that’s how everyone approaches it that I work with.”

Like any of Hendrick’s approximately 500 employees, Parker feels a sense of pride when the team wins races and championships.

“My role is very small in the grand scheme of things,” Parker said. “But everybody has to do their job. If everybody does their job, we’ll be successful. That’s how I look at it. That’s how I approach my job every day — just do my part.”

And while he enjoys coming to work at a job where he learns something new every day, he says his journey isn’t complete.

“I’m definitely not where I want to be in life,” Parker said. “I want to continue to do more, drive for more. I don’t think anybody wants to sit around and pat me on the back too much. I’m not there yet.”

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