Why is it Every NASCAR Driver’s Dream to Kiss the Brickyard After Winning at Indianapolis?

Published 06/01/2021, 7:04 AM EDT
May 30, 2021; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; The Borg Warner trophy sits with a bottle of milk on the yard of bricks before the 105th running of the Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports


In NASCAR and IndyCar circles, winning at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is a privilege. Normally after each race, the winning driver usually steps out of the car and kisses the bricks on the start-finish line. On an interesting note, Dale Jarrett started this tradition back in 1996.

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As it turns out, Jarrett clinched victory at the 1996 Brickyard 400. In light of this, he and crew chief Todd Parrott wanted to pay tribute to the iconic speedway’s rich history. So  the team decided to walk out to the start-finish line, knelt and kissed the track right on the bricks.

From that point onwards, an American motorsport tradition was born. Since that day, any driver who won the Indianapolis 500 or the Brickyard 400, planted a kiss on the famous bricks.

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Why is the Brickyard so-called in NASCAR and IndyCar?

There is actually an interesting story behind the “Brickyard” moniker. As it turns out, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway was opened back in August 1909. Around that time, the track surface consisted of crushed stone and tar. Obviously, it did not make for ideal racing conditions. As a result, the speedway often bore witness to numerous and sometimes fatal accidents.

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May 30, 2021; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; The Indy series during the 105th running of the Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Mike Dinovo-USA TODAY Sports

To counter this, the track authorities repaved the track with 3.2 million bricks, thus the name ‘Brickyard’ was born. As the years passed, the bricks were eventually replaced with asphalt. However, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway still clung to its roots when they retained a one-yard strip of bricks at the start/finish line.

Since the one-yard strip is a nod to the track’s history, it is only fitting that NASCAR and IndyCar drivers acknowledge it. They do this by kissing the bricks in tribute to the track and this has now become a tradition. This act is right up there with IndyCar’s milk drinking after winning the Indy 500.

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Dhruv George

11666 articles

Dhruv George is a senior Formula One and NASCAR analyst for EssentiallySports, having authored nearly 12000 articles spanning different sports like F1, NASCAR, Tennis, NFL, and eSports. He graduated with a PG Diploma in Journalism from the Xavier Institute of Communications. Dhruv has also conducted interviews with F1 driver Pierre Gasly and Moto2 rider Tony Arbolino.

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