Renewed traditions await Indy 500 fans after a year away from IMS

Indy 500

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)

SPEEDWAY, Ind. — The Indianapolis 500 returns to Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Sunday, and race fans are excited to finally be allowed back in the stands. Some race day traditions will be returning as well.

2020 was the first time in more than 100 years that Purdue’s All-American Marching Band wasn’t at the Indy 500. But this year, 300 of the 400 members volunteered to come back for the race.

The Indy 500 will be the first live performance for the band since December 2019.

“Our role there consists of playing “On the Banks of the Wabash”, which is a very traditional piece for the Indianapolis 500. We play some specialty tunes throughout the morning,” said Jay Gephart, the band’s director.

Another popular tradition includes the Indy 500 winner, the winning car’s owner, and the head mechanic all getting milk in the Winner’s Circle. This year, they will be able to do that with a crowd cheering in the stands.

That milk is from right here in Indiana.

“The tradition of the milk is humbling to dairy farmers, knowing that’s a trophy we worked so hard to produce,” said Jill Houin, this year’s Indy 500 “milk person.”

Houin will be the one handing a jug of milk to the Indy 500 winner in the Winner’s Circle on Sunday.

“Knowing that I’m representing so many dairy farm families, there’s a lot of pressure not to drop that bottle,” she said. “But I know I’m ready for that challenge. I didn’t last year, and I will be successful this year!”

Most of the drivers picked whole milk as the drink waiting for them if they cross the finish line first. Not one went with skim milk.

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