Indy 500 milk celebration tradition meaning and origin explained and list of drivers milks choices

Indy 500 milk celebration tradition meaning and origin explained and list of drivers milks choices

Have a look at the meaning and origin of the Indy 500 milk celebration tradition

During the electrifying Indy 500 weekend, myriad traditions unfold amidst the palpable excitement surrounding one of North America’s most esteemed races.

As a cornerstone of the illustrious triple crown of motorsport, encompassing three iconic races steeped in racing lore, the Indy 500’s renown has endured through the ages.

Indy 500 milk celebration tradition meaning and origin and list of drivers milks choices

Since its inception in 1911, when American driver Ray Harroun clinched victory in a grueling 500-mile race at the speedway, the Indy 500 has captivated audiences worldwide, solidifying its status as a premier motorsport event.

Alongside the Monaco Grand Prix and the legendary 24 Hours of Le Mans, it forms the trifecta of motorsport excellence.

Indy 500’s ‘Winners Drink Milk’ Tradition Explained

One of the Indy 500’s most cherished traditions emerged during its 24th iteration in 1936: “Winners drink milk.”

Originating from race victor Louis Meyer’s post-race request for buttermilk, a practice he attributed to his mother’s advice for staying cool on hot days, this ritual has since become synonymous with triumph at the Indy 500.

Other Traditions

The 1936 race also Introduced two other enduring traditions. The prestigious Borg-Warner Trophy, sponsored by automotive supplier BorgWarner, honors each year’s champion with a replica while safeguarding the original at the track’s museum.

Additionally, the race winner receives a replica of the pace car, a tradition sparked by a suggestion from pace car driver Tommy Milton and embraced as part of the event’s lore.


While Meyer’s initial buttermilk gesture waned post-World War II, replaced temporarily by “Water from Wilburn,” milk made a triumphant return to victory lane in 1956.

Its significance has since been underscored by dairy companies sponsoring the event, aligning milk consumption with celebration and tradition.

One notable deviation from this tradition occurred in 1993 when Emerson Fittipaldi opted for orange juice in a bid to promote his homeland’s juice brand.

Today, drivers eagerly anticipate their post-race milk selection, choosing from options like whole, skim, or 2% milk, with lactose-free milk available upon request.


Though buttermilk isn’t formally offered, drivers may still indulge in the classic beverage upon personal preference.

The American Dairy Association plays a pivotal role in upholding this cherished tradition, annually nominating two Indiana farmers to present milk to the winning driver, constructor, and team members.

These farmers, dubbed Rookie and Veteran Milk Presenters, embody the event’s deep-rooted connection to agriculture and community.

As the 108th Indy 500 approaches, drivers have disclosed their milk preferences, with whole milk emerging as the favored choice among participants.

List of Drivers along with their Milk Choices

Here’s the comprehensive rundown of drivers along with their milk preferences for a Sunday victory:


Marco Andretti — Whole
Marcus Armstrong — Whole
Tom Blomqvist — Whole
Agustin Canapino — Whole
Ed Carpenter — Whole
Romain Grosjean — 2%
Colton Herta — Whole
Ryan Hunter-Reay — Whole
Callum Ilott — Whole
Kyle Larson — Whole
Katherine Legge— Whole
Christian Lundgaard — Skim
Linus Lundqvist — Whole
Scott McLaughlin — Whole
Josef Newgarden — Whole
Pato O’Ward — 2%
Alex Palou — Whole
Will Power — Whole
Graham Rahal — 2%
Christian Rasmussen — Skim
Felix Rosenqvist — Whole
Takuma Sato — 2%

Kyffin Simpson — Whole

This year promises yet another spectacle of speed, tradition, and camaraderie, culminating in the iconic scene of the victor dousing themselves in milk atop the podium—an enduring ritual that encapsulates the essence of the Indy 500 experience!

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