Top 10 Indy 500s, No. 6: Louis Meyer milks his third victory with historic celebration


(Editor’s note: NBC Sports has selected the Top 10 Indy 500s of All-Time through an esteemed panel of former drivers, broadcasters, journalists and historians. The countdown will run through the 107th Indianapolis 500.)

It was the swig seen around the world – and for decades to come at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

After becoming the first three-time winner in Indy 500 history, Louis Meyer made an unusual request in victory lane. He asked for a glass of buttermilk, which he believed to be the best refreshment on a hot day (advice instilled by his mother).

Meyer, who also won at the Brickyard in 1928 and ’33, was handed a bottle and took a big gulp in a lasting image that appeared in newspapers the next day. That caught the attention of a dairy industry executive who asked that milk be available annually to the winner. Since 1956, the Indiana Dairy Association has compensated Indy 500 winners for including milk in their celebrations (currently a $10,000 payout).

INDY 500 PRIMER: Questions and answers for the world’s biggest race

It’s among many traditions and legacies from the 1936 Indy 500:

–The race was the first in which the Borg-Warner Trophy was presented to the winner.

–Pace car driver Tommy Milton (a two-time Indy 500 winner) suggested that the Indy 500 winner be awarded the pace car as part of the winning prize package.

–The 1936 Indy 500 marked the first time that freshman drivers were required to pass a test that now is known as the Rookie Orientation Program.

There were other safety enhancements made at IMS for the 1936 Indy 500, which could claim the only Month of May between 1929-40 without a fatality on the track. The angle of the outside retaining wall was altered to avoid launching cars outside the track. Cars were limited to 37.5 gallons of gasoline, which forced teams to work on engines that were slower and more efficient.

In another historical quirk, Bill Cummings (who won the 1934 Indy 500) was left on the grid for the start in 1936, becoming the first driver unable to start the race in Indy 500 history.

NBC Sports has ranked the Top 10 Indy 500s through a panel that judged through scores of 1-20 in five categories (with a total of 100 being perfect): quality of racing, memorable moments, strength of competition, historical impact and spectacle.

Here’s a look at No. 6 on the list:

Year: 1936

Winner: Louis Meyer

Margin of victory: 137.15 seconds

Lead changes: Six among five drivers

Other contenders: Runner-up Ted Horn led 16 laps (from Lap 131-146). … Wilbur Shaw led 51 consecutive laps (from Lap 32-82).

Winning move: Meyer started 28th and took his first lead on Lap 89. Outside of a pit stop cycle, he led 96 of the final 112 laps.

How the voters saw it: The 1936 Indy 500 drew steady but unspectacular support: While the race appeared only more than 60 percent of ballots, only two of its scores were above 80.

Beta Motorcycles joins SuperMotocross in 2024, Benny Bloss named first factory rider

Beta Motorcycles 2024 Bloss
Beta Motorcycles

Benny Bloss will race for the factory Beta Motorcycles team in 2024 as that manufacturer joins SuperMotocross as the ninth brand to compete in the series. Beta Motorcycles will make their debut in the Monster Energy Supercross opener at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, California in January.

Benny Bloss finished among the top 10 twice in Pro Motocross, in 2016 and 2018. – Beta Motorcycles

“The wait is over and we can finally share everything we have been working towards,” said Carlen Gardner, Race Team Manager in a press release. “It has been a great experience being a part of this development and seeing the progression. The only missing part was finding a rider that would mesh well with our Beta Family.

“After a one phone call with Benny, we knew it would be a good fit for him, and for us. We are happy to have him on board for the next two years and can’t wait to see everyone at Anaheim in January.”

Bloss debuted in the 450 class in 2015 with a 15th-place finish overall at Ironman Raceway in Crawfordsville, Indiana.

Bloss has a pair of top-10 rankings in the division with a sixth-place finish in the Pro Motocross Championship in 2016 and a seventh in 2018. His best Supercross season ended 15th in the standings in 2018.

“I’m extremely excited to join the Beta Factory Racing team,” Bloss said. “It’s cool to see a brand with such a rich history in off-road racing to come into the US Supercross and Motocross space. I know this team will be capable of great things as we build and go racing in 2024.”

Bloss is currently 22nd in the SuperMotocross rankings and has not raced in the first two rounds of the Motocross season.

Testing for Beta Motorcycles is scheduled to begin in August and the team expects to announce a second rider at that time.

The family-owned brand adds to the international flare of the sport. The company was founded in Florence, Italy in 1905 as Società Giuseppe Bianchi as they built handmade bicycles, The transition to motorcycle production in the late 1940s.

Beta Motorcycles competed and won in motocross competition in the late 1970s and early 1980s with Jim Pomeroy and other riders.

Beta will join Triumph Motorcycles as a second historic brand to join the sport in 2024. First established in 1902, Triumph has won in nearly every division they have competed in, dating back to their first victory in the 1908 Isle of Man TT. Triumph will debut in the 250 class in 2024 and plans to expand into 450s in 2025.