Barker graduated with a degree in mechanical engineering from Old Dominion University, in Norfolk, Virginia, in 1994. Barker is also one of the hosts of NASCAR Performance on Speed Channel. He was paralyzed from the waist down after suffering injuries in a car accident while a senior in high school. Barker has since overcome his injuries to be a respected crew chief and one of NASCAR's most brilliant minds.
Barker's visibility to NASCAR fans increased in 2006. Barker wrote a weekly column for NASCAR.com titled "Urban Legends," in which he addressed myths and questions about various aspects of racing. Barker is also a frequent guest on NASCAR Raceday, a preview show for weekly NASCAR events on the Speed Channel.
In August 2007, Johnny Sauter, Barker and the #70 team were featured as part of ABC's NASCAR in Primetime, a television show that gives a behind-the-scenes look at the preparation, logistics, drama and competition of NASCAR.
On October 1, 2008, Michael Waltrip Racing (MWR) announced that NASCAR veteran Robert "Bootie" Barker will be the crew chief of the #55 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota driven by two-time Daytona 500 champion Michael Waltrip for the 2009 Sprint Cup Series season.
Barker also writes a monthly column named Top of the Box for Racing Milestones Magazine