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The Indianapolis 500 is one of the strongest traditions in American sports, and the winner always drinks milk in Victory Lane.
It’s a unique tradition that started in 1936 when Louis Meyer drank buttermilk in Victory Lane because his mother said it would refresh him on a hot day, IndyStar reports.
A dairy industry executive saw a marketing opportunity and milk has been part of every race since 1956. There’s one problem — Meyer drank buttermilk and the American Dairy Association Indiana won’t let drivers drink buttermilk.
The tradition was repeated for the next few years, but took a brief hiatus between 1946-1955 when milk was no longer offered at the speedway, Sporting News reports. The winner has had an ice-cold bottle of milk every year since then.
The drivers are asked for their milk preferences before the race: fat-free, 2% or whole milk. Whole milk is the most popular choice by the drivers, WinnersDrinkMilk.com states. “Winners Drink Milk” is considered one of the most beloved phrases and traditions in Indiana and all of sports.