Indy 500 unique traditions

The Indy 500 has been taking place since 1911. During this time the race has established some of the most interesting traditions around that include oddities like milk chugging and a curse.


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€INDIANAPOLIS - MAY 27: Dario Franchitti, driver of the #27 Canadian Club Andretti Green Racing Dallara Honda, celebrates by taking a drink of the traditional bottle of winner's milk in victory lane after winning the IRL IndyCar Series 91st running of the Indianapolis 500 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on May 27, 2007 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

After winning in 1933, Victor Louis Meyer asked for a glass of buttermilk. By 1956 it had turned into a tradition. The winning driver of the Indy 500 is handed a wreath and a glass bottle of milk. The drivers are given a choice of whole, two percent, and skim.

‰INDIANAPOLIS - MAY 30: Dario Franchitti of Scotland, driver of the #10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara Honda, celebrates with his team as they kiss the bricks after winning the IZOD IndyCar Series 94th running of the Indianapolis 500 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on May 30, 2010 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Robert Laberge/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Dario Franchitti

In 2003 Gil De Ferran and his crew kissed the brick of the finish line after winning the Indy 500. This has continued every year since.

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MAY 29: A general view of cars racing during the IZOD IndyCar Series Indianapolis 500 Mile Race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on May 29, 2011 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)

Smith is one of the most popular surnames in the United States. Despite this fact, no one has ever qualified for the Indy 500 with the last name of Smith. In the racing world it is known as the "Curse of the Smiths".

Courtesy IMS Photo/Michael Harding

Trophy, Getty Images

in 1936 the Borg-Warner Trophy was announced as the official prize for winning the Indy 500. Every winner has their face sculpted onto the silver trophy. The trophy is valued at over $1 million.

iINDIANAPOLIS - MAY 27: Fans spell "We Love Danica!" with beer cans on the infield fence, in support of Danica Patrick, driver of the #7 Motorola Andretti Green Racing Dallara Honda, during the IRL IndyCar Series 91st running of the Indianapolis 500 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on May 27, 2007 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

The infield at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is known as the Snake Pit during the Indy 500. This party features live music, alcohol, and a bikini contest. Indianapolis knows how to party!

BEVERLY HILLS, CA - JANUARY 20: Actress Florence Henderson arrives to the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences' Hall of Fame Committe's 20th Annual Induction Gala on January 20, 2011 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)

Since 1991 Florence Henderson sings "America the Beautiful" or "God Bless America" before the national anthem. Henderson is from Indiana and is also good friends with the Hulman-George family who own the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

INDIANAPOLIS - MAY 25: The field of drivers and their teams stand for the National Anthem during the IRL IndyCar Series 92nd running of the Indianapolis 500 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway May 25, 2008 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images)

In 1974 the race was moved to the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend. In order to honor the race being held on a Sunday the Speedway invites someone from the religious community to be present. Archbishops have been invited along with famous clergymen like Billy Graham.

!LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 08: (L-R) Musicians C.C. DeVille, Bret Michaels and Bobby Dall of Poison perform at the after party for the premiere of Warner Bros. Pictures' "Rock Of Ages" at Hollywood and Highland on June 8, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

The last practice session before the Indy 500 is known as Carburetion Day since it is the day that teams usually tune their carburetors. The name has been shortened to "Carb Day" and features a concert and other festivities. This year Poison will headline "Carb Day".

INDIANAPOLIS - MAY 29: Balloons entertain the crowd during the Indianapolis 500 Festival Parade on May 29, 2010 in downtown Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

The 500 Festival Parade began in 1957 and has occured ever since. It is held on the eve of the race and showcases marching bands, balloons, and celebrities. The grand marshall list has included big names like Mickey Mouse, Gene Autry, and Donald Trump.

Beginning in 1946 the song "Back Home Again in Indiana" is performed right before the start of the race. It has been performed by Jim Nabors since 1972 and he is accompanied by the Purdue marching band.

balloons, Getty Images

Since 1947, colorful balloons are released at the end of the singing of the traditional song, "Back Home Again In Indiana".