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500 Festival Queen Takes Accidental Milk Bath in Stride

When Natalie Murdock of Fishers, Indiana, was named 500 Festival Queen on May 19, the Purdue University sophomore was thrilled to know she would be in Victory Lane to greet the winner of the 102nd Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil.

But when that winner is Team Verizon driver Will Power, expect the unexpected when it comes to celebrations.

Power was so excited when he won the Indy 500, he arrived in Victory Lane with so many emotions going through him he didn’t know what to do.

“Overwhelming,” Power said. “Amazing. It's funny, you forget where you are, you're so immersed in the race. You don't even realize. On the white flag lap, I started screaming because I just knew I was going to win it. 

“Unbelievable. Never been so excited.”

Power was given the traditional “Bottle of Milk” from the American Dairy Association of Indiana. 

“I knew you drink milk here,” Power said. “Believe me. I've seen a few of my competitors do it. I just hesitated a bit because I'm not supposed to eat dairy, but I didn't care. 

“I just drank it.”

He did more than drink the milk. After taking a big gulp, Power then dumped it on his head and slung the remaining milk around his head before making a quick flick to his right empty the bottle.

Unfortunately, that’s where Murdock was standing, and 500 Festival Queen was doused with milk. It was all over her hair, face and glasses.

“I felt bad,” Power admitted afterward. “When I turned around, I saw the glasses, she was covered in milk. I didn't realize she was behind me.

“I said to her: ‘I'm so sorry. What could I do? I didn't see you behind me.’

“She was all good.”

Murdock stood there not knowing whether to laugh or be embarrassed. After all, there is nothing like milk on a 91-degree day. But that Victory Lane faux-pas by Power will go down as another unique moment of folklore in the history of the Indianapolis 500.

And it has also made Murdock a bit of a celebrity.

The incident was mentioned at the Indianapolis 500 Victory Celebration on Monday night, May 28 at the JW Marriott in downtown Indianapolis.

Murdock is a sophomore at Purdue University majoring in Public Health with a concentration in Social and Behavioral Sciences and a certificate in Entrepreneurship and Innovation. She is one of 33 young women who were selected for the 2018 500 Festival Princess Program, presented by Indianapolis jeweler Reis-Nichols. 

The 500 Festival princesses and queen serve as ambassadors for the 500 Festival. Murdock is a graduate of University High School of Indiana and is the daughter of Anthony and Latrece Murdock.

The 500 Festival Queen Scholar and Princesses are involved with the 500 Festival’s statewide community outreach programs, volunteer at 500 Festival events and participate in various Indianapolis Motor Speedway functions, including the pre-race ceremonies and Victory Circle celebration for the 102nd Running of the Indianapolis 500. In addition, each 500 Festival Princess receives a $1,000 scholarship, made possible by Marlyne Sexton, an Indianapolis philanthropist and president of The Sexton Companies, and the 500 Festival Foundation.

As 500 Festival Queen Scholar, Murdock is the recipient of an additional $1,553 educational scholarship from Fifth Third Bank. In addition, she wore the one-of-a-kind 500 Festival Queen’s crown at 500 Festival events and the Indianapolis 500. She participated in a variety of appearances throughout the week and in the Indianapolis 500 pre-race and Victory Circle celebrations. She will continue to represent the 500 Festival at various functions throughout the year.

Support of the 500 Festival Princess Program is provided by: Reis-Nichols, BKD, Nicole Bryan Salon, Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Vera Bradley, and the 500 Festival Foundation.

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