The high stakes and top speeds of the Indianapolis 500 continue to attract huge crowds of fans each year. The Indianapolis Motor Speedway organization chooses not to divulge the exact number of visitors who attend the event each spring. Race-day experts, however, estimate that between the 257,000 permanent seats and variable infield seating, the number of people who attend the Indianapolis 500 each year may well top 400,000.
Over the last 3 years, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway celebrated centennial anniversaries commemorating the construction of the original track in 1909 and the 1911 introduction of the Indianapolis 500. Historians note that the 2011 race was not actually the 100th Indianapolis 500, because the race was not held during the years of World War I and World War II. Nonetheless, the tradition of the race, as well as fans’ deep commitment to it throughout the years on the home front, date back 100 years, making the anniversary a true milestone.
Winners of the Indianapolis 500 usually drink milk to celebrate their victory. The ritual began in 1933 when Louis Meyer drank a glass of buttermilk after coming in 1st for the 2nd time at the Indianapolis 500. When he won again in 1936, he received a bottle of buttermilk rather than a glass. A local dairy manager realized that the milk bottle image represented an excellent marketing and public relations opportunity. The dairy today offers winners of the race a choice of whole milk, skim milk, or 2% milk.
Just as the Indianapolis 500 and IndyCar racing have generated dozens of traditions, the Rocket Racing League reaches out to fans to create new customs and conventions to celebrate their love for the high-powered aerial sport.
About Granger Whitelaw
A fan of racing and high-speed air and motor sports, Granger Whitelaw cofounded the Rocket Racing League to give fans the chance to enjoy the new sport that melds rocket–powered aircraft and a Raceway-In-The-Sky that follows the model for IndyCar races.