Celebrities, Civic and Corporate Leaders Drink In Excitement of 101st Indianapolis 500
INDIANAPOLIS, Tuesday, March 13, 2017 – Indianapolis 500 champions have quenched their thirst in Victory Lane with a bottle of milk since 1936, and a growing number of celebrities and corporate and civic leaders are sharing that same winning feeling through the #101Bottles program leading into the 101st Running of “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing.”
The Indianapolis Motor Speedway is delivering one commemorative bottle of milk per day to prominent individuals for 101 days leading up to Race Day for the 101st Running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil on Sunday, May 28.
Reigning Indianapolis 500 winner Alexander Rossi started the program Feb. 16 by presenting a milk bottle to Cummins, Inc. CEO Tom Linebarger at the Cummins Distribution Headquarters in downtown Indianapolis after the ticket for this year’s race was unveiled at the facility.
“This is a great way to bring the Indy 500 countdown closer to both racing fans across the nation and our community in Central Indiana,” said Allison Melangton, senior vice president, events, Hulman Motorsports. “Everyone wants to take part in celebrating the Indy 500 and one of its most iconic traditions, and these bottles have become more of a hot commodity each and every day as we get closer to May.”
Commemorative milk bottles have traveled locally, regionally and nationally, with one even heading to Europe for an upcoming presentation. Recipients include athletes, politicians, entertainers, business executives and leaders of civic and community groups, bringing the excitement and growing anticipation for the 101st Indianapolis 500 to a wide audience.
Rossi also presented a bottle to the hosts of the NFL Network program “Good Morning Football” in New York during an appearance on the show March 7, sharing a toast of milk live on the air. Milk bottles also have been presented to these prominent individuals:
- Former “Tonight Show” host Jay Leno, during a recent visit to the IMS Hall of Fame Museum
- Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb, during the annual flag-raising ceremony at Gate 1 of IMS
- Kentucky Derby Museum President Patrick Armstrong, during a Town Hall at the museum featuring three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves and IMS President Doug Boles
- Indiana Black Expo Inc. President Tanya Bell, to mark 89 days from Race Day
- Susie Wheldon, wife of late two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Dan Wheldon, during the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg race weekend
- Baseball Hall of Fame inductee Ken Griffey Jr., during the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg race weekend
- Former NFL player and Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg Grand Marshal Mark Schlereth
- Indiana State Treasurer Kelly Mitchell, at the Statehouse and delivered by driver Stefan Wilson
The tradition of the Indianapolis 500 winner drinking milk in Victory Lane started in 1936. Race winner Louis Meyer regularly drank buttermilk to refresh himself on a hot day and happened to drink some in Victory Lane as a matter of habit after winning the 1936 race.
An executive with what was then the Milk Foundation was so elated when he saw the moment captured in a photograph in the sports section of his newspaper the following morning that he vowed to make sure it would be repeated in coming years. There was a period between 1947-55 when milk was apparently no longer offered, but the practice was revived in 1956 and has been a tradition ever since.
Visit www.IMS.com to purchase tickets and for more information on the entire Month of May schedule at IMS.