Milk and Indianapolis seem to go hand-in-hand, that is if your an auto racing fan. After all, there’s been a long tradition of drivers quenching their thirsts with a bottle of milk when reaching victory lane at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. But that’s the tradition for IndyCar Series drivers after winning the Indianapolis 500. A couple of years after NASCAR began racing at Indy, Dale Jarrett began a tradition for NASCAR at the track — kissing the famed yard of bricks after winning the Brickyard 400.
After Jeff Gordon won the first Brickyard 400 in 1994 and Dale Earnhardt claimed victory in 1995, Jarrett won his first Brickyard race in 1996. Aftere the race, he and crew chief Todd Parrett kissed that yard of bricks for the first time and a tradition was born.
According to Jarrett, the tradition came about through a discussion with Parrott prior to the 1996 Brickyard win. And it wasn’t something they expected to stick with competitors and become “the thing to do” at Indianapolis.
“Yeah, it’s something I would like to take all the credit for, but it was something that Todd Parrott and I talked about doing something if we were fortunate enough to be able to win at the Brickyard. So it’s something we discussed,” Jarrett said.
“To be quite honest, when I got into Victory Lane, I had kind of totally forgot about it. It wasn’t on my mind. I was enjoying being in a Victory Lane that I’d seen so many great champions be there and be a part of. I was just enjoying the scenery, so to speak.
“Todd grabbed me and said, Hey, remember what we talked about. It wasn’t until then that I remembered that we were going to do something a little different. We hadn’t told any of the crew or anything like that. So we just told them to follow us and went out and had our time on the yard of bricks.
“It’s pretty cool now to see that every race winner and their teams, of course it’s a lot more orchestrated now than what it was at that time because we took everybody by surprise. But to even see the guys that win the Indy 500 go out and be a part of it, it’s pretty cool to know you started a tradition that will probably carry on for a long time.”
Every year since, the Brickyard 400 winning driver, his crew chief, pit crew, other team members, and often car owner and spouse pucker up and plant a big one on that yard of bricks at the IMS start finish line.
And the tradition has carried over. Now Indianapolis 500 winners and race winners from other series at the track have similar “make-out” sessions with that same yard of bricks.
Who knew making out with some bricks would become so cool? But unlike with other popular fads or trends, not everybody’s doing it. Because not everybody gets the opportunity to do it. But for those who do get the opportunity, it’s definitely THE thing to do.
Well, technically, visitors to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Hall of Fame Museum are allowed to kiss the bricks, but it’s just not the same. That may get you some cool points with your neighbor and co-workers. Still, it’s just not the same.
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But before you leave, enjoy this photo gallery of some guys making out with bricks (photos courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR):