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Here's the milk of choice for every driver in the Indianapolis 500

Sorry, chocolate milk fans, you're going to have to make another pick.

INDIANAPOLIS — It's the most famous drink in sports and we now know the milk preferences of the 33 drivers competing in Sunday's Indianapolis 500.

The Indiana Dairy Association revealed its annual "Milk Preference Poll" Tuesday, with an overwhelming number of competitors choosing to chug (and, to be honest, shower in) whole milk should they win the Greatest Spectacle in Racing.

Twenty-eight drivers opted for the whole variety, with three drivers selecting 2% and two more choosing skim in the poll. The two-percenters include four-time Indy 500 winner Helio Castroneves (who added a bit of pink to match his car after his 2021 win), two-time winner Takuma Sato and rookie Benjamin Pedersen, who requested his potential drink to be "ice cold."

Romain Grosjean and Katherine Legge chose skim milk should they earn a trip to Victory Lane on Sunday.

Malukas, Callum Ilott and 2013 winner Tony Kanaan, who is racing in his final Indy 500 this year, switched from 2% in last year's poll to whole milk this year.

Some drivers gave reasons for their choice, from Malukas's comment that "Veterans told me to pick whole!" to Jack Harvey's simple "I like whole milk" and Josef Newgarden declaring whole milk to be "the real stuff." 

Graham Rahal, who will replace the injured Stefan Wilson in the No. 24 car, is among the whole milk crowd, but as in years past, protested that "Chocolate (is) not an option!" 

Credit: WTHR/Scott Hums

Meanwhile, defending champion Marcus Ericsson, who doused himself in whole milk after last year's race, was more specific in his request, creating his own box for Huski Chocolate, which sponsors his race car.

"If I could've had it straight from the cow, that would be the best," 2018 winner Will Power said. 

Back to the 'dairy' beginning

The tradition of drinking milk after an Indianapolis 500 win dates back eight decades.

Louis Meyer, the first three-time champion of the Indy 500, reportedly drank buttermilk as a kid growing up in New York. Meyer claimed it was buttermilk, similar to the kind that cooled him down for so many east coast summers, that he drank after his victories in 1933 and 1936.

In 1936, a dairy industry executive saw a photo of Meyer and requested milk be available to the winner each year. 

Credit: IMS
1936 - Louis Meyer

Between 1938 to 1946, every winner sipped milk. But drivers switched to water in a silver chalice between 1947 and 1955, at the behest of three-time winner and track president Wilbur Shaw. 

When Shaw died in a private plane crash in 1956, the dairy industry reportedly posted a $400 accessory prize that would be paid to the winner if they drank milk in Victory Lane.

Since then, drivers like Sam Hanks and Jimmy Bryan were paid $400 for a drink of milk, while more recent winners have received up to $10,000, according to IMS.

The American Dairy Association of Indiana manages the milk that is brought to the drivers.   

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