Indy Car’s Fascinating Tradition of Drinking Milk
If you have ever watched an IndyCar race, you have noticed a unique tradition after the Indianapolis 500. After taking home first place, the winner typically drinks from a milk bottle at victory lane as part of an 80+ year tradition.
But why milk, and how did it start?
Louis Meyer began the tradition in victory lane after winning the Indy 500 in 1933. Meyer had long used buttermilk as a cooling measure during hot races and continued this practice when he won. Dairy industry executives saw photos of Meyer drinking milk during an Indy 500 race and realized it could serve as an ideal promotional opportunity for their industry; they started offering bottles to all winners after that race – the rest is history!
The American Dairy Association of Indiana became the official provider for the Indy 500, providing each driver a bottle in victory lane as part of its tradition; this only applies to winners of that particular IndyCar race; winners in other IndyCar races do not receive milk as part of this tradition.
The tradition extends well beyond just winners.
Each year, fans can join the Indy 500 Victory Celebration Milk Toast by raising a glass of milk to honor the victor. It allows fans to feel connected to this tradition and celebrate victory themselves!
The type of milk given to the winner is also significant. While whole milk is offered, drivers can request any type they desire – from soy to 2% and, more recently, even vegan varieties! Regardless of their choice, winners always take a sip from their winning drink before pouring the rest over their heads in celebration, which is an iconic moment in sports.
IndyCar’s tradition of drinking milk in victory lane may seem odd or bizarre to outsiders. Still, among its fans, it has become an integral part of the celebration and marketing of both the winner and the dairy industry. It is a testament to marketing power as one man’s thirst for buttermilk became an obsession and an industry. No matter your interest or background in racing or sports in general, this ritual will leave an impressionable memory; now that you understand its roots even better, you’ll appreciate its meaning more when next you see a driver drinking milk in victory lane!