For the 46th year Indy 500 rookie drivers were celebrated by Indiana dairy farmers, but this event was late and most who watched weren’t even there. American Dairy Association Indiana went online with the annual Fastest Rookie of the Year Award. It originated from an Indianapolis studio with fastest rookie qualifier for this Sunday’s race Rinus VeeKay of Ed Carpenter Racing, on the set. He joined Jill Houin, the Plymouth, Indiana dairy farmer who will present the milk in Victory Circle.
“Super excited! It’s going to be a little different, but I really am excited about that tradition being carried on and the winner drinking the milk,” she said.
Houin used the event to explain what happens round the clock every day of the year on her family’s dairy farm.
“We have employees that help us but it’s always constantly going. I go in in the morning and raise the calves. We make sure that they have been fed and they are healthy and then I go along during the day caring for those animals. The other thing I get to do is the tours of the farm and to teach people about agriculture and dairy farming. I didn’t grow up in it and I love sharing that story because these farmers are so passionate about what they do, about the land, their family, their animals and being sustainable. It’s just an amazing story and I love to share it.”
Also joining her for the event was Tim Haynes, the 2020 Rookie Milk Man.
Fastest Rookie VeeKay is from the Netherlands and is no stranger to milking cows.
“When I was in school we had a little trip and we would go to dairy farms and actually milk cows just for fun.”
VeeKay is the fourth fastest qualifier and starts on the inside of row 2, so he has enough speed to be another rookie to meet up again with an Indiana dairy farmer in Victory Circle. The other four rookies were part of the event via Zoom. They are Alex Palou, Pato O’Ward, Oliver Askew and Dalton Kellett.
In addition to the inscription on the permanent Fastest Rookie trophy on display in the IMS Museum, VeeKay received a custom-designed plaque and $10,000 cash award from ADAI.
ADAI has sponsored the Fastest Rookie award since its inception in 1975, and the Fastest Rookie of the Year award is one of two programs that continues the long association between the Indiana dairy industry and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The beloved Bottle of Milk presented to the winner of the 500-mile classic has been a part of Victory Circle ceremonies for portions of nine decades and 65 consecutive years.