“Not often do you get to stand on pit lane with a cow,” said Indianapolis Motor Speedway president Doug Boles on Wednesday afternoon.
The cow, appropriately named Victory, was at the track for a special announcement regarding the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500 on May 29th.
“There are a few things that are just so inherent in our DNA that when you think of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the Indianapolis 500, you automatically think of them. They’re things that are so sacred to us that we make sure they happen every year,” Boles said.
Because the Indianapolis 500, more than any other sporting event, is all about tradition.
“Obviously, it’s 500 miles, it’s the Yard of Bricks, it’s Memorial Day weekend, it’s celebrating military men and women, it’s “Back Home Again in Indiana,” and at the end of the race, it’s a thrilled Indy 500 winner looking for a bottle of milk that he or she can drink on race day.”
It’s become an endearing part of the Indy 500 lore, said Deb Osza of the American Dairy Association of Indiana.
“When legendary race driver Louis Meyer pulled into victory lane at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Memorial Day 1936 and asked for an ice-cold glass of buttermilk to quench his thirst after 500 grueling miles, a tradition was born.”
And for the 100th race, they’ve got something special planned for the fans.
— Prairie Farms Dairy (@PFDairy) March 16, 2016
“So on race day this year, Prairie Farms and the American Dairy Association of Indiana are going to provide 100,000 bottles of milk to our fans here inside the venue and when that winner steps up to drink the milk, we’re all going to toast that winner and drink a swig of milk right along with them,” Boles said.
“So whether you are the winning driver of the 100th running of the Indy 500 or you are a fan at home listening on the radio, you too can be a part of the tradition when you toast with us in the world’s largest milk toast,” said Osza.
— Indy Motor Speedway (@IMS) March 16, 2016
Joe Kelsay, a sixth generation dairy farmer and the 2016 Indy 500 rookie milkman said dairy farmers and IndyCar drivers lead very different lives. But they both work hard to set themselves apart by constantly striving for a competitive edge.
“We do it with the magic of the cow and at the end of the race in May, the two will come together and will focus on marrying those two worlds where the dairy farmer and the race driver can celebrate the nutrition of milk and the fact that it really means how we win here in Indianapolis.”
The “greatest spectacle in racing” is celebrated with the most wholesome drink known to man.
Winners drink milk.
And this year, for the first time — the fans will too.
Cheers to May!