Whole, 2-percent or fat-free? Indy 500 drivers choose their milk for Victory Lane

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MAY 26: Tony Kanaan of Brazil, driver of the Hydroxycut KV Racing Technology-SH Racing Chevrolet, pours the victory milk over his head as he celebrates in victory circle after winning the IZOD IndyCar Series 97th running of the Indianpolis 500 mile race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on May 26, 2013 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Robert Laberge/Getty Images)

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – It’s one of the most famous images in all of sports: the winner of the Indianapolis 500 drinking ice-cold milk—or sometimes dousing himself with it.

The tradition, according to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, started in 1936 when three-time winner Louis Meyer drank milk in Victory Lane. Meyer regularly drank buttermilk to refresh himself on a hot day.

In 1936, an executive with the Milk Foundation saw a photo of Meyer on the sports page and became determined to make it a tradition. IMS said there was a period between 1947 and 1955 when milk wasn’t offered, but the practice came back in 1956 and has been going strong ever since.

The American Dairy Association Indiana asks each driver to pick from one of three types of milk: whole, two-percent and fat-free. Each one is then made available in Victory Lane so the winner can enjoy one of the Indy 500’s greatest traditions.

Here are the preferences of each driver for this year’s race:

  • Marco Andretti: Whole
  • Sebastien Bourdais: Two-percent
  • Ed Carpenter: Whole (wants buttermilk, per tradition)
  • Helio Castroneves: Whole
  • Conor Daly: Whole
  • James Davison: Whole
  • Scott Dixon: Whole
  • Marcus Ericsson: Fat-free
  • Santino Ferrucci: Whole
  • Ben Hanley: Two-percent
  • Jack Harvey: Two-percent
  • Colton Herta: Whole
  • J.R. Hildebrand: Whole
  • James Hinchcliffe: Whole (wishes he could choose buttermilk)
  • Ed Jones: Whole
  • Ryan Hunter-Reay: Whole
  • Kyle Kaiser: Whole
  • Tony Kanaan: Two-percent
  • Sage Karam: Two-percent
  • Charlie Kimball: Whole
  • Jordan King: Whole
  • Matheus Leist: Two-percent
  • Pippa Mann: Whole
  • Josef Newgarden: Whole
  • Simon Pagenaud: Whole
  • Spencer Pigot: Whole
  • Will Power: No preference
  • Graham Rahal: Two-percent
  • Felix Rosenqvist: Two-percent
  • Alexander Rossi: Whole
  • Takuma Sato: Two-percent
  • Oriol Servia: Two-percent
  • Zach Veach: Whole

The dairy association said drivers still ask for buttermilk, the drink that started the tradition. In fact, two drivers (Ed Carpenter and James Hinchcliffe) specifically mentioned buttermilk when asked for their preference.

Will drivers ever be able to pick buttermilk? The dairy association says “maybe”—but for now, drivers have to stick with their three options.

If you’re keeping score at home…

  • Whole: 21 drivers
  • Two-percent: 10 drivers
  • Fat-free: 1 driver
  • No preference: 1 driver (looking at you, Will Power)
Notice: you are using an outdated browser. Microsoft does not recommend using IE as your default browser. Some features on this website, like video and images, might not work properly. For the best experience, please upgrade your browser.