INDIANAPOLIS — Instead of a victory dance, drivers that get
opportunity to compete in the Indianapolis 500 hope they are the one to take the
victory sip of milk at the end of the race.
At the 39th Fastest Rookie of the Year lunch sponsored by
the American Dairy Association of Indiana and Hoosier dairy farmers, the four
rookies in the field for the year’s race were celebrated, while showing the
public how the dairy and racing industries are closely related.
Vince Welch, a sports announcer for ABC and ESPN who emceed
the ceremony, noted that there are many great traditions associated with the
Indy 500, one of which is the winning driver drinking milk in the victory
He mentioned that the two worlds of racing and dairy
production have much more in common than an individual might think.
“They can merge together at the national stage,” he
This year, the honor for the fastest rookie was awarded to
Colombia native Carlos Muñoz, who qualified with an average lap speed of 228.342
mph, which made him the youngest rookie to ever start the race from the front
row. He drove the No. 26 Unistraw Chevrolet for Andretti Autosport.
Muñoz noted that all of the experiences relating to his
rookie year in the Indy 500 have been all-new and a dream, which is what he has
used to stay positive in the time leading up to qualifying and race day.
Joining Muñoz in the rookie class this year were A.J.
Allmendinger of Los Gatos, Calif.; Conor Daly of Noblesville, Ind.; and Tristan
Vautier of Corenc, France.
Welch said that every driver come race day wants to be
greeted by the Indy 500 milkman after they have finished the last lap because
that means they have just won the race.
This year’s milkman is Duane Hill of Fountain City. Ken
Hoeing of Rushville is the rookie milkman, which means he will hand the bottle
of milk to the winning driver next year.
Hoeing noted that it’s a great honor to be able to represent
all people who are a part of the dairy industry.
He added that a dairyman presenting milk to the winner is a
longstanding tradition, and for a few seconds, the whole world is watching the
dairy industry shine.