The Sprint Cup has many fine traditions: Speedweeks, the night race at Bristol and flipping off Kyle Busch, just to name a few. But it is one of the sport’s newest traditions that has emerged as one of its most beloved. Since 1996, no race at The Brickyard has been complete without the kissing of the bricks. This Sunday at the Allstate 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, 43 drivers will vie for the pleasures of the flesh that Bill Elliott, above, experienced in 2002.

The Sprint Cup started running races at Indianapolis in 1994. Jeff Gordon won in 1994 and Dale Earnhardt Sr. won in 1995, but it was not until 1996, when Dale Jarrett won, that the tradition began. Crew chief Todd Parrott convinced Jarrett to get down on the ground and kiss the yard of bricks at the track’s start/finish line. Jarrett’s teammates turned their hats around and, without the benefit of the seven-beer buzz that usually makes such kisses palatable, pressed their lips against the bricks.

ESPN’s Jamie Little sets an example that fans can only hope Shannon Spake and Lindsay Czarniak will someday follow.

Clayton Caldwell over at The Bleacher Report calls kissing the bricks the greatest tradition in NASCAR. That is up for debate. It’s a good one, but is it the best? Feel free to weigh in with your two cents.

Kissing the bricks: NASCAR’s best tradition (The Bleacher Report)