In 1936, Louis Meyer did not know that he would start one of the longest running traditions of the Indy 500.
Meyer regularly drank buttermilk after a race to refresh himself, so when he scored the 500 victory that year, he did so as a matter of course. An executive with the Milk Foundation saw a photograph of Meyer drinking and decided to make certain it was repeated in the coming years.
Now, some 80 years later, Indianapolis Motor Speedway is set to host the largest milk toast in history.
On race day, 100,000 pints of milk will be distributed by American Dairy Association (ADA) volunteers so that fans can join the winning driver in the tradition.
“Being a part of the victory celebration and that famous drink of milk, representing Indiana dairy farmers who produce the milk is a special thrill, honor and tradition of American Dairy Association Indiana,” said Deb Osza of the Indiana chapter of the ADA.
“Drinking the milk in Victory Circle is one of those special traditions that sets us apart from other events,” said J. Douglas Boles, President of Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
“This year, as we mark the 100th Running of ‘The Greatest Spectacle in Racing,’ we felt it was important to bring as many fans as possible into the mix. This 100,000-strong milk toast will be an epic part of an unforgettable Race Day.”
The pints of milk will be branded for the Indy 500, making them collectibles. And they will be available at retailers leading up to the race. This will allow fans to plan ahead and bring their own milk to the track. It also allows fans at home watching on television to participate.
Juan Pablo Montoya got to take the famous drink in 2015.