Ready to Race

By Mary Nicholson

It’s May!  The month to celebrate in Indianapolis!  Checked flags will soon be decorating mailboxes, flagpoles, gas stations, and grocery stores.  I can hardly wait!  I never dreamed I would become a “track rat”, but in my twelve years of living in Indiana, I certainly have.

It helps that I work for the American Dairy Association of Indiana, sponsors of that famous “Drink of Milk in Victory Circle”.  Being involved with a tradition like that certainly plays a part in my interest in the race. There’s just something special about the track.  After moving here in 1998, I was amazed the first time we drove by it.  Having seen the race on TV, I never imagined how large the whole IMS grounds are.  I was equally surprised to see that there are regular homes, churches and schools so close to it.  When you drive by the track at nighttime – not during Indy 500 or Brickyard festivities – it is so quiet and dark and a little foreboding.  Quite the opposite is true during daylight hours, and especially when it’s getting close to a Race Day. It’s one of the best places to be!

Now back to that unique tradition that occurs in Victory Circle at the end of each race.  Did you know it all started when Louis Meyer asked for a cold glass of buttermilk after his 1933 Indy 500 win (his 2nd)?  Even as one who enjoys buttermilk now and then, I can’t quite imagine that!  But that’s how the tradition began, and in 2005 it became known as the “Sports World’s Coolest Prize”, according to, Sports Illustrated web site.  And you know who is handing out the bottles of milk?  Indiana dairy farmers!  Each year, two of our board members – all board members are dairy farmers – have the honor and privilege of handing an ice cold engraved bottle of pasteurized milk to the winning driver, team owner, and chief mechanic.  As you can imagine, that’s quite a change from their usual daily activities on the dairy farm!

2 Responses

  1. To Mary Nicholson – I have noted that in past years there has been a “Winners Drink Milk” poster associated with the Indy 500. Is this poster available this year? I would be glad to purchase it if is available. My thanks for your kind reply.

  2. Michael- Mary will be in touch soon. Thanks!

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