Carpenter meets Indy 500 milkman as part of fundraising kickoff

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WHITELAND, Indiana – It could have been Ed Carpenter’s lucky day. 

Carpenter, the Verizon IndyCar Series’s only owner/driver, was introduced to Indiana dairy farmer Joseph Kelsay on Wednesday. 

As the American Dairy Association’s official “milkman” for the 101st Running of the Indianapolis 500, Kelsay will deliver the traditional bottle of milk to the driver who wins the “Greatest Spectacle in Racing” on May 28.

Ed CarpenterCarpenter, Indianapolis Motor Speedway President Doug Boles and representatives from the American Dairy Association Indiana met at Kelsey’s farm to kick off a fundraising campaign that celebrates one of the Indy 500’s most beloved traditions – the drink of milk the race winner receives in Victory Lane.

Methodist Health Foundation’s #WinnersDrinkMilk social media campaign asks people to share their victories, big and small, in a video or photo posted to Facebook, Twitter and Instagram with the hashtag #WinnersDrinkMilk.

The American Dairy Association will donate $100 to Methodist for every video uploaded in April and the winning video’s producer will receive a prize package, including a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to get a photo taken at IMS with the Indianapolis 500 winner.

CLICK IT: For more details on how to participate in the fundraiser, visit http://www.revindy.org/winnersdrinkmilk.

While Carpenter doesn’t think meeting Kelsay will give him or Ed Carpenter Racing’s other driver, JR Hildebrand, an advantage. He said he’ll be glad to see a familiar face if he’s lucky enough to get to Victory Lane.

“I know Joe now,” Carpenter said. “So, if I’m fortunate enough to pull into Victory Lane after 500 miles, I’ll at least already know the man bringing me my milk.”

That’s Carpenter’s idea of a victory of a lifetime.

For the Methodist Health Foundation, victory is their partnership with the American Dairy Association and the foundation’s event Rev, which kicks off the Month of May at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

In its fourth year, the nearly sold-out party for 3,000 guests, will be held at IMS on May 6. The contest is an extension of the party, which this year is being hosted by Team Penske’s Josef Newgarden.

“We’re really excited to kick things off and tie together milk and Rev this year as we lead into the May 6 party and lead into the 101st Running of the Indianapolis 500 and somebody drinking that milk in Victory Lane,” Boles said.

IU Health Methodist Hospital operates the at-track hospital that cares for Indianapolis Motor Speedway fans and drivers, treating everything from sunburns to driver trauma situations. The relationship between IMS and the hospital dates back to the early 1900s.

“There’s not a relationship more important to us and certainly more important to our drivers and our fans than the one we have with Methodist,” Boles said.

As the campaign was announced and officials took turns speaking, Carpenter’s youngest son, Cruz, waited patiently by his dad’s side.

The four-year-old had been promised an opportunity to milk a cow at Kelsay’s farm and when the presentations were over, that’s what they did. It didn’t last long, but father and son both got to try.

“I don’t know that I was successful,” Carpenter said. “I was most proud that Cruz tried it. He said he wanted to do it but I didn’t think he’d put his hand up there and try milking the cow. But he did so I was proud of his effort.”

Kelsay, a sixth generation Indiana dairy farmer, said he was proud to host the event at his family’s farm.

“Bringing the celebration of what happens in Victory Lane to our farm – it’s a powerful thing,” he said. “We have the car. We have the (Borg-Warner) Trophy. We have the driver.”

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