Two percent was the consensus among the seven first-year Indianapolis 500 Mile Race competitors when asked “What type of milk do you want in Victory Circle?”
“You see the winner drink the milk – or pouring it over his head – but didn’t know you had a choice,” said Kurt Busch. “I’d take cottage cheese just to be in that position.”
Jack Hawksworth, Mikhail Aleshin, Carlos Huerta, James Davison, Martin Plowman and Sage Karam joined Busch in being recognized May 20 at the 40th Fastest Rookie of the Year luncheon presented by the American Dairy Association Indiana.
Click it: Indianapolis 500 Mile Race qualifying results
Busch, driving the No. 26 Suretone car for Andretti Autosport, recorded the fastest four-lap average speed May 18 (230.782 mph) to qualifying on the outside of Row 4 for “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” on May 25.
“It’s a very prestigious award and to be able post the fastest time was through a bunch of hard work by the Andretti Autosport team,” Busch said. “When you’re a rookie you’re always driving down a road that you’ve never been down before, and my past experience might have helped out just a little bit with my knowing this racetrack.”
Busch, who will attempt to be the fourth driver to compete in the Indianapolis 500 and NASCAR race in Concord, N.C., the same day (and the first since Tony Stewart in 2001 to complete the 1,100 miles of racing), has raced on the 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway numerous times in the Brickyard 400.
He joined 500 Mile Race luminaries such as Rick Mears, Michael Andretti, Jacques Villeneuve, Juan Pablo Montoya, Chip Ganassi and Tony Stewart – his NASCAR team owner -- as a fastest rookie award winner. Eight former award winners qualified for the race in what is the fastest 33-car field in miles per hour average (229.698) in its 98 years.
Hawksworth, who qualified 13th in the No. 98 Integrity Energee Drink car for BHA/BBM with Curb-Agajanian, said the Month of May experience has exceeded expectations.
“When you look at it from the outside it can be quite different from when you get there, and it certainly has been,” said the 23-year-old from England. “The qualifying was super intense; one of the most intense days I can think of. I’m looking forward to the race and hopefully will have a good result.”
Added Davison, who qualified 28th in the No. 33 KVRT Always Evolving Racing entry: “It’s been a fantastic experience to be a part of with all the history and all the famous drivers in the race. To be a part of all of it is a great feeling and to be in the race is an achievement.”
The bottle of milk presented to the winner of the 500-mile classic has been a traditional part of the Victory Circle celebration since 1933, when Louis Meyer requested a cold glass of buttermilk.
Following his victory in ’36, Meyer was photographed drinking milk in Victory Lane. Milk was presented off and on during the next several years until in 1956 the bottle of milk was made a permanent part of the post-race ceremony by Indianapolis Motor Speedway owner Tony Hulman.