“Ron’s the caffeine in Corvette Racing’s
coffee,” says Oliver Gavin of the silver-haired spark plug. Every winning team
needs its “glue guy,” the one who weaves
everyone together, and that’s Helzer.
“He’s always pumped and excited and
wanting to high-five you,” adds Gavin.
Job descriptions are more of a suggestion
than a hard, fixed line in Corvette Racing,
and Helzer’s outgoing nature goes hand in
hand with a willingness to help anybody.
“He’s meticulous about everything that
he touches, and he does a lot on this
team,” says Chris Bell. “But when he’s
done with his part in the shop, he’s over
wrenching on a car, or he’s helping us
load the trucks. Most people on this team
are like Ron, and will drop what they’re
doing to help another guy out. I think one
word that sums up Ron is ‘selfless.’”
And “hugger,” perhaps?
Kyle Millay’s head-down approach is
common among race engineers. A life spent
analyzing numbers, forecasting outcomes,
planning strategies and concentrating on
the minutiae – fretting over thousandths
of an inch on the chassis setup pad – tends
to narrow one’s interaction with the world.
In this regard, Millay is among the most
familiar Corvette Racing types. Painfully
intelligent, efficient, driven…all hallmarks
of an engineer – and an engineering
group – that prefers results over words.
“Kyle’s pretty quiet, but when it comes
time to get something done, we get it
done at a really high level,” says Matt
Cummings. “All the race engineers, we all
have a lot of fun together. We can go out
to dinner and hang out outside of work,
which is super cool.”
Focus is another trait associated with
Millay and his Corvette Racing brethren.
“Maybe keeping his head down is his
way of staying in that bubble, not getting
distracted with other things,” Oliver Gavin
suggests. “He’s extremely focused on what
he’s going to be doing with his car, and he’s
sure in what he wants to do. He also has his
lighter side, but it isn’t always on display.
Altogether, he brings a lot to the team in car
development and driving things forward.”
RON HELZER / GEARBOX & FUELING
KYLE MILLAY /
ENGINEER, No. 3 CAR
“When he’s done with his
part in the shop, he’s over
wrenching on a car, or he’s
helping us load the trucks”
“Yeah, Ron’s always the guy who wants
to hug you,” Gavin chuckles, while
shaking his head in mock disapproval. But
even a group of battle-hardened, “seen it,
done it” racers from the Wolverine State
need someone like Helzer to break down
any testosterone-fueled barriers with an
unexpected embrace once in a while...
“He wants to get in and hug you, give
you a punch…in a nice way,” adds Gavin.
“He’s definitely a character on the team.
And every team has to have them. He can
just lighten everyone’s day a little bit.”