2019 Indianapolis 500 updates, The latest race day happenings.
Of all the traditions of the Indianapolis 500, the winner celebrating with a large bottle of milk might be the most bizarre.
The winning drivers are draped with a flowered wreath, they and their teams kiss the bricks on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway track and they drink from a bottle of milk — and then typically dump it on their heads. But how did this milk tradition come about?
Well, it started 83 years ago with some buttermilk. According to IMS:
Three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Louis Meyer regularly drank buttermilk to refresh himself on a hot day and happened to drink some in Victory Lane as a matter of habit after winning the 1936 race. An executive with what was then the Milk Foundation was so elated when he saw the moment captured in a photograph in the sports section of his newspaper the following morning that he vowed to make sure it would be repeated in coming years. There was a period between 1947-55 when milk was apparently no longer offered, but the practice was revived in 1956 and has been a tradition ever since.
Now, buttermilk isn’t an option anymore, and drivers have the choice between whole, two percent or skim milk.
The “milk people” — yes, that’s what they’re called, as For The Win has previously explained — from the American Dairy Association Indiana have three bottles of each variety that in the past has been delivered to the track with the help of a police escort or armored trucks.
They’re put in a cooler as the race is winding down, and when it’s over, the milk people check their list to see what type the driver prefers and bring the bottle to Victory Lane.