Indy 500 traditions, defined: Why does the Indianapolis 500 winner drink milk?

The Indianapolis 500 is one the strongest traditions in American sports activities.

From the 33-car area, to the singing of “Again Residence Once more in Indiana,” to the releasing of balloons earlier than the beginning of the race and the enduring Borg-Warner Trophy that includes the faces of previous winners, the Indy 500 is wealthy with historical past and traditions. However maybe one of many strangest traditions of the race is the winner chugging a bottle of chilled milk in victory lane.

It is a distinctive custom that has appeared in each race since 1956, and has turn into a snapshot second defining the elation of victory after successful one of many world’s most iconic races.

MORE: How a lot cash does the Indy 500 winner make?

Why does the Indianapolis 500 winner drink milk?

Celebrating an Indy 500 win with milk dates again to 1933 when Louis Meyer loved a glass of buttermilk after successful his second Indy 500. Meyer’s mom had all the time instructed him that the perfect factor to drink on a sizzling day was buttermilk. In 1936 when Meyer gained once more, he sipped his milk from a big glass bottle as an alternative of a glass. An government at what was then the Milk Basis was so excited when he noticed the picture of Meyer in Victory Lane within the subsequent day’s newspaper that he vowed to make the bottle of milk an Indy 500 staple.

The custom was repeated for the following few years, however took a short hiatus between 1946-1955 when milk was now not supplied on the speedway. The winner has had an ice chilly bottle of milk yearly since then. Immediately, all 33 drivers are polled earlier than the race, asking for his or her of choice of complete, 2 p.c or fat-free milk. Energy listed no choice for his victory final 12 months, and nobody has been in a position to verify what selection was given to him.

Why no buttermilk?

If the custom started with buttermilk, why cannot drivers select that selection right now? No, it isn’t a conspiracy from Large Dairy, however reasonably the American Dairy Affiliation of Indiana searching for drivers’ style buds. In a press release from Brooke Williams, director of communication for the American Dairy Affiliation Indiana, to the Indy Star, the absence of buttermilk is the results of its new style as a result of mass manufacturing facility manufacturing. Buttermilk within the 30s was truly left over from making butter and was wealthy and creamy. Immediately’s manufacturing facility model is common milk with a tradition and salt added to it, making a extra bitter tasting beverage.

As drivers proceed to ask for buttermilk, nevertheless, Williams supplied one doable caveat on the way forward for choices: “(If) we see a driver drink a full glass of buttermilk earlier than the race,” Williams mentioned, “we’ll give them some particular (consideration). For now, we’re conserving it to the three choices.”

Who drank orange juice on the Indy 500?

The custom of ingesting milk was nearly led to 1993 by Emerson Fittipaldi. Following Fittipaldi’s victory, he broke custom by chugging a bottle of orange juice as a number of followers booed. Fittipaldi, an proprietor of a 500,000-acre Brazilian orange grove, rapidly chased the OJ with the same old glass bottle of milk, however the American Dairy Affiliation of Indiana was not happy. Fittipaldi later issued an apology.

Three drivers —  A. J. Foyt, Al Unser Sr. and Rick Mears — have gained the race a document of 4 occasions. Helio Castroneves leads all energetic drivers with three victories. The inaugural race in 1911 was gained by Ray Harroun.

Yr Profitable Driver
2020 Takuma Sato
2019 Simon Pagenaud
2018 Will Energy
2017 Takuma Sato
2016 Alexander Rossi
2015 Juan Pablo Montoya
2014 Ryan Hunter-Reay
2013 Tony Kanaan
2012 Dario Franchitti
2011 Dan Wheldon
2010 Dario Franchitti
2009 Helio Castroneves

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