SPEEDWAY, Ind.-- Drinking milk has been a part of Indy 500 tradition ever since three-time winner Louis Meyer started chugging in Victory Lane back in the 1930s.
Almost every year since, a milk man or milk lady representing the Indiana Dairy Industry has dutifully delivered a cold bottle of two percent, skim or Vitamin D to the winner, the car owner and the chief mechanic.
Imagine your excitement if you were chosen to deliver one of those winning bottles at the 100th running of the 500.
"Shut the door...this is a bucket list that I didn't know was in my bucket!" said Joe Kelsay.
Kelsay is one of the lucky milkmen who will make history at this year’s race. The sixth generation dairy farmer from Whiteland has been selected as this year’s "rookie milk man." He’ll be the one delivering the milk to the owner and the mechanic. He’s not ready to deliver to the driver yet, just ask his friends.
"It's almost like a scolding, like 'don't mess this up you're playing an important part'...uh...I'll do my best...I hope I make you proud...it's a real serious thing," said Kelsay.
There’s a milk delivery tradition in his own family. His dad delivered the bottle to Dario Franchetti when he won the race 10 years ago. Kelsay admits he’s going to be nervous when race day comes.
"The nervousness is going to set in, if you've never been to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in the month of May and experienced that sound and the crowd and the excitement that you can feel in the air, it's a magical place," he said.
Kelsay appreciates what he calls an opportunity to recognize an industry and a product that’s been a part of his family’s heritage for generations. Besides, how many people can say they became even a small part of Speedway history?
"Since those first drinks of buttermilk by Louis Meyer way back in the 1930s- what a tradition. Now it’s my turn to do the same, what an honor, what a privilege, what an opportunity," he said.