Indy 500 Traditions

25 May 2018

After racing 500 miles, 200 laps around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Louis Meyer, 1936 Indy 500 winner, asked for buttermilk to quench his thirst. I guess his first choice--turkey gravy--was not readily available. Who will be handed the bottle of milk this year?

Vegas oddsmakers have Alexander Rossi the favorite at +800, meaning a $100 bet would net you the $800. The next three drivers are all +1000, three-time winner Helio Castroneves, points leader Josef Newgarden and Will Power. Pole-sitter Ed Carpenter is one of five drivers at +1200: Hunter-Reay, Scott Dixon, Sebastian Bourdais, and Simon Pagenaud. Last year's winner Takuma Sato is at +3000 and attempting to win back-to-back for the first time Castroneves in 2002.

Which team will kneel and kiss the Start/Finish Line? Team Penske? Andretti Autosport? AJ Foyt Racing?  Did you know the whole lips-to-bricks tradition didn't start as an Indy tradition at all. That goes back to Dale Jarrett in 1996 who won the Brickyard 400 and decided he wanted to plant a kiss on the 3-foot wide strip of original Speedway paving bricks.

If you grew up with Gomer Pile then the traditional singing of "Back Home Again in Indiana" by Jim Nabors was always a bit jarring albeit beautiful. He sang it for the first time in 1972 and most years after that until 2014. Carb Day, which kicks off the Memorial Day weekend festivities, used to be the final practice session where crews could adjust carburetors. Ironically, Indy cars haven't used carburetors for decades..