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A new study reveals the correlation between Indianapolis 500 drivers' milk preferences and their likelihood of winning.

One classic tradition of the race is the bottle of milk the winner gets, who will usually proceed to have a small sip and then drench themselves and anyone around with the leftovers.

The American Dairy Association Indiana (ADAI), which delivers the milk, polls each driver ahead of each race on which type they prefer. Options are whole milk, two-percent or fat-free.

To see if there were any noteworthy stats, the sports news site The Grueling Truth reviewed all drivers' preferences going back eleven years, from 2013 to 2023.

Drivers Preferring Two-Percent Milk Wins Twice More

It revealed that drivers favoring two-percent milk emerged victorious notably more often compared to those who preferred whole milk.

Despite only 33% of drivers expressing a preference for two-percent milk, this group took home the trophy in six of the past ten years, translating to a 100% better victory rate compared to their whole milk-drinking counterparts that won 3 times.

Will Power represents the outlier, where he won the race in 2018 having submitted “no preference” as his milk choice.

Drivers opting for fat-free milk have not won a single race in ten years. 

This in other words does not bode well for Romain Grosjean and Katherine Legge for the upcoming race - the only two drivers opting for skimmed milk

Overall Preference

81 individual drivers have been part of the Indy 500 over the last 11 years, and with it, submitted 362 milk requests.

This was their overall preference:

  • 56% whole milk
  • 33% two-percent
  • 7% fat-free
  • 3% no preference

Whole Milk Takeover

The development over the last ten years has been clear with drivers opting more and more for whole, full-fat milk.

In 2013, almost 50% of the drivers had two-percent as their chosen milk, this changed significantly by this year's race, where only 9% of drivers had it as their preference.

The majority of the repeat drivers, and new ones now choose whole milk as their choice.

85% of drivers opted for it in 2023, which is up from only 24% in 2013.

A spokesperson from The Grueling Truth commented on the study:

“It’s interesting to see the development of drivers' choices of milk over the years. It becomes a snapshot of what’s happening in the rest of society, where a trend towards more full-fat dairy products has been on the increase.

That trend has obviously not held true in terms of winning trophies where two-percent milk drivers are dominating.

But whole milk fans should keep an eye out for last year's 2022 winner, Marcus Ericsson. A former two-percent drinker that made the switch to whole milk preference last year, and with it captured his first Indy 500 win. So we might see a new trend emerging.”

Read the full story and get a breakdown of all drivers, their preferences, and additional insights with our infographic here:

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