Every driver cherishes a trip to victory lane, no matter what kind of car they race or how big of a track they visit. That joy can sometimes lead a winning racer to do strange things, like kissing a cow.
That is part of the tradition at the Milk Bowl at Thunder Road Speedbowl (VT). Each year, the winner of the three-segment, 150-lap event for ACT Late Models is greeted in victory lane by a $10,000 check as well as a cow to be kissed as part of the winner’s post-race ceremony.
This is just one of several victory lane traditions involving animals in short track racing. During Speed51’s “The Morning Bullring,” on Monday, Speed51 asked fans to weigh in on their favorite animal traditions.
With nearly 100 votes submitted for a poll on Speed51’s Twitter Feed presented by PFC Brakes, the Rattler 250’s victory lane tradition received 47 percent of votes to claim the top spot in the poll.
In the Speed51 Twitter poll, the Rattler 250 tradition finished ahead of the Milk Bowl (34 percent), followed by the Grizzly Nationals (16 percent) and the Bacon Bowl 200 (three percent).
The annual Southern Super Series event at South Alabama Speedway, true to its name, brings a rattlesnake to victory lane each spring, which is draped around the winner’s neck each year. While some winners are hesitant for the interaction with the reptile, others such as 2019 winner Giovanni Bromante eagerly anticipate the encounter as part of the prestige of winning The Rattler.
A much larger animal awaits winners each summer at Gallatin Speedway (MT) during the Grizzly Nationals. The sprint car event sanctioned by the Lucas Oil American Sprint Car Series brings a live grizzly bear to victory lane. This leads to exciting victory lane photos, with the bear roaring alongside the newly crowned race winner.
A newer animal tradition has started north of the border, at Autodrome Chaudiere in Vallée-Jct, Quebec, Canada. There, the winner of the Bacon Bowl 200 for ACT Late Models kisses a piglet in victory lane. The event started in 2018, with Jonathan Bouvrette and Patrick Laperle boasting wins in the event over its first two runnings.
There are also the DIRTcar Nationals each year at Volusia Speedway Park as part of Florida Speedweeks. Winners are presented with “Gator” trophies, with the Big Gator going to the champion in each division of the event at its conclusion. Along with the decorative alligators, a live gator also awaits winners in victory lane for celebratory photos.
What are some other animal traditions in victory lane? Which tradition is your favorite? Let us know on Twitter at @speed51dotcom or by chiming in on the Speed51 Facebook Feed presented by Five Star Race Car Bodies.
And if you’ve never experienced one of these Victory Lane traditions in person, make your way to Thunder Road this weekend to experience the traditional kissing of the cow. For those unable to make it to Barre, VT, you can still watch the race and the kiss on Speed51’s live pay-per-view broadcast.
The Morning Bullring airs every Monday morning on Speed51.com and Speed51’s Facebook Feed to discuss the biggest news and events in short track racing. Join us at 7 a.m. ET on Mondays to start your week off with a dose of #MoreShortTracks.
-Story by: Zach Evans, Speed51.com Southeast Editor – Twitter: @ztevans
-Photo credit: Speed51.com photo