Month of May

Buttermilk makes list again as Indy 500 drivers polled on milk preferences

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The results are in, and buttermilk made the list once more as IndyCar drivers declared their preferred dairy in Victory Lane at the Indianapolis 500.

This year’s drivers preferred whole milk and 2% milk, with no votes for skim, according to Indiana Dairy’s poll.

INDIANAPOLIS, IN – MAY 30: Brazil’s Emerson Fittipaldi (C) celebrates his victory with wife Teresa(R) in the winner’s circle 30 May 1993 after winning the the 1993 Indianapolis 500. Fittipaldi is raising two fingers to signify his second Indy 500 victory. (Photo credit should read TODD PANAGOPOULOS/AFP via Getty Images)

Ed Carpenter and Simona De Silvestro wrote in buttermilk as their choice, as well as picking from the provided options. And Juan Pablo Montoya said he wanted chocolate milk.

Three-time Indy 500 winner Louis Meyer unintentionally began the tradition of drinking milk in Victory Lane when he drank buttermilk after winning the 1936 race. A dairy executive saw a photo of Meyer with the milk in a newspaper and vowed to make sure it was repeated. There was a pause from 1947-55 when milk wasn’t offered, but the tradition was brought back in 1956 and has continued ever since, according to Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

When Emerson Fittipaldi won his second Indianapolis 500 in 1993, he drank orange juice in Victory Lane, then “finally took a swig of the traditional milk after being advised of his faux pas,” according to IMS.

Fittipaldi said he drank orange juice because he had orange groves in his native Brazil.

Here’s how WISH-TV reported the incident in 1993:

Last Sunday, Emerson Fittipaldi won his second Indianapolis 500 but found himself in the middle of a controversy — not for his actions on the oval, but for a move in Victory Lane.

Fittipaldi broke with the traditional first drink of milk, choosing instead orange juice because he has orange groves in Brazil.

After several attempts to give him the milk, Emo finally took a drink. But the slight has caused hundreds of phone calls to pour into the American Dairy Association office in Indianapolis. Jerry Hazelwood had the job Sunday of giving the winner his milk.

“You hate to see a tradition possibly come to an end because of a misunderstanding because of not fully understanding the importance of a 500 mile tradition here in Indianapolis,” Hazelwood said.

Fittipaldi has issued an apology, reportedly after a phone call from Speedway President Tony George. The $5,000 he would have received for drinking the milk will be donated to the speedway’s benevolent fund.

Starting grid for 105th running with milk preferences:

  • (9) Scott Dixon: Whole
  • (26) Colton Herta: Whole
  • (21) Rinus VeeKay: Whole
  • (20) Ed Carpenter: Buttermilk/whole
  • (48) Tony Kanaan: 2%
  • (10) Alex Palou: Whole
  • (28) Ryan Hunter-Reay: 2%
  • (06) Helio Castroneves: 2%
  • (8) Marcus Ericsson: 2%
  • (27) Alexander Rossi: Whole
  • (18) Ed Jones: 2%
  • (5) Pato O’Ward: Whole
  • (51) Pietro Fittipaldi: Whole
  • (7) Felix Rosenqvist: 2%
  • (30) Takuma Sato: 2%
  • (29) James Hinchcliffe: Whole
  • (3) Scott McLaughlin: Whole
  • (15) Graham Rahal: 2%
  • (47) Conor Daly: 2%
  • (60) Jack Harvey: Whole
  • (2) Josef Newgarden: Whole
  • (1) JR Hildebrand: Whole
  • (45) Santino Ferrucci: Whole
  • (86) Juan Pablo Montoya: Chocolate/whole
  • (98) Marco Andretti: Whole
  • (22) Simon Pagenaud: Whole
  • (14) Sebastien Bourdais: 2%
  • (25) Stefan Wilson: Whole
  • (59) Max Chilton: Whole
  • (4) Dalton Kellett: Whole
  • (24) Sage Karam: 2%
  • (12) Will Power: Whole
  • (16) Simona De Silvestro: Buttermilk/2%

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