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Indy 500 Traditions: 'Kiss the Bricks' Is Most Recent Fan Favorite Tradition

“Kissing the Bricks” is a much more recent Indianapolis Motor Speedway tradition, and it is well-documented.

It debuted at the third running of NASCAR’s Brickyard 400 event in 1996. While in Victory Circle that year, crew chief Todd Parrott reminded driver Dale Jarrett that they had joked in practice, “If we win this thing, we should go out and kneel down and kiss the bricks.” They proceeded to do precisely that, just the two of them, and it was so spontaneous that it is fortunate anybody captured it on film.

Ricky Rudd followed their lead and kissed the bricks in 1997, after which it eventually developed into a major and much-orchestrated photo “opp,” with countless variations of driver and crew chief, driver and owner, driver with family, entire crew, and on and on and on.

Indianapolis 500 winners have followed suit in more recent years, the late Dan Wheldon believed to have been the first. Whenever the conducted “Grounds Tours” are available to the general public at various times of the year, the “kissing of the bricks” is a surprisingly popular feature, visitors from all over the world apparently knowing about it.

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