Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Indy 500 2019 recap: Sunday

Race Day!

I tend to over-research and over-prepare, so I knew of the horrific traffic to the track. The race started after twelve, but we left our hotel 4.5 miles away at 7am. Along the way, in bumper-to-bumper traffic, we did a lot of people watching. A lot of pickups. A lot of people partying already. Shady police escorts that got friends, families, and the well connected out of the traffic and quickly to the venue. It took us two hours to get there.

We had seats at Turn 1. They were perfect.

There was a lot of military stuff. Flyovers by attack jets and helicopters. A speech by a 4-star general. Singing of God Bless the USA, God Bless America, and the national anthem. Soldiers waving around the track from the truck beds of new Chevys. And on, and on, and on.

We got to see five past Indy 500 cars equipped with Cummins Diesel engines.

And Mario Andretti in his 1969 Indy 500 winning car, preceded by a foursome of 1969 Camaro pace cars.

I, of course, wore an Alonso jersey to the race.

This was our view. A guy behind us had been to 48 Indy 500s.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by @ tamerlaneblog on

After the race, we went out for steak. I wanted to get a shrimp cocktail appetizer, but Mario Andretti's dinner party ordered all the shrimp and oysters the restaurant had in stock.

These two very different cars were parked outside the restaurant.

Monday, May 27, 2019

Indy 500 2019 recap: Friday and Saturday

I landed on Friday at around 9pm, and it was still light outside. It was hot, muggy, and there was a 100% chance of rain on race day on Sunday.

After checking into my airport hotel, Bozi (of TTAC, Hagerty, Road & Track, and Autoweek fame) picked me up in his Subaru WRX. He had driven up from North Carolina to watch the race. He took me to Speedway, Indiana, a tiny town surrounded by the City of Indianapolis. Speedway is the home of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

As this was race weekend, Speedway's main drag was full of cars, people walking and drinking beer, and lots of people watching. On this street, you will find Dallara's U.S. headquarters and a tasting room for A.J. Foyt's winery.

We found a restaurant at the end of the main drag that didn't have loud, live music or raucous drunkards. Over a lamb burger and a couple of Sato 101 lagers, Bozi gave me the rundown of IndyCar and the Indy 500.

As we dined, a truck pulling this Trump float passed us.

After dinner, we walked a few blocks to the race track. I will go inside of it tomorrow.

On Saturday morning, I met up for breakfast with our favorite Azeri F1 marshal. Tarlan and I connected through this blog around 2011 and after all these years, we finally met in person. I had so much fun finding out about his new life in the U.S. and hearing of his experiences as an F1 marshal in Baku, Austin, Bahrain, and Abu Dhabi. It was just incredible. Plus, he parked his ride next to my Maxima rental.

After breakfast, I met up with Bozi at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway museum. It was packed with fans. The main display hall had many of the Indy 500 winners over the years.

The second large hall contained Mario Andretti's cars and memorabilia. This was the 50th anniversary of his sole Indy 500 win. He was basically the king this weekend.

This Esprit was given to Mario Andretti after he won the F1 driver's and constructor's championships. He promptly gave the car to his teenaged son.

Then, I went to the gift shop. Because Alonso didn't qualify, all of his gear was 40% off. Sad!

Finally, we watched a crew push a Ferrari into the museum and place it next to a Ford GT40. Matt Damon and Christian Bale are making a movie about the Ford versus Ferrari rivalry of the 1960s and they were heavily promoting it during race weekend.

We then took a walk around the track facilities.

There was a heavily tattooed artist-type busily applying Indy 500 decals on all of these medical trucks.

We then sat in the bleachers to take it all in.

And then it started pouring rain. More of the same on race day?

Once the rain stopped, I ran back to my car, but I had to stop and take a picture of this.

On Saturday evening, @rchen was flying in. While I waited for him, I went to a pretty cool and strange bar called the Winner's Circle in Downtown Indianapolis for drinks and a bite. It's a place to eat, drink, and bet on horses. It has four sections. 1) The patio/sidewalk area. It's frequented by people with low budgets who want to hang out for hours. One of the outside customers came inside to the bartender with a styrofoam cup and asked for 12 cents worth of soda, as that was all the money he had. 2) The bar. I sat here and enjoyed two Irish pints of beer and potato skins. I sat next to an asphalt paver operator named Joe. He told me there was plenty of work in the area and he paid his bar tab with a crisp $100 bill. 3) The OTB. It's like the sportsbooks in Las Vegas. A bunch of old men smoking cigarettes and watching little monitors while betting on horses. 4) A private club for smoking cigars. You need a membership to get in, but Joe told me as long as you dressed nice, they'll let you in.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Alonso out!

Had I actually followed IndyCar, would I have known that there was actually a chance that Alonso wouldn't make it into the Indy 500?

According to reports, Alonso's McLaren:

  • did not have a steering wheel just before testing in Texas;
  • was painted the wrong orange, and sat in a paint shop for a month;
  • had the wrong tire sensors and thus failed to notice a puncture before a qualifying run;
  • had gearing for 227.5 mph instead of 229 mph;
  • had wonky suspension setup because of failure to convert from metric to American!
What the fuck?!

Orlove drives an Alpina Z8


Friday, May 17, 2019

Eating the Globe: Uganda

Other than a Haitian food truck, I have exhausted my international options in the San Francisco Bay Area. So when I had to go to Los Angeles yesterday for work, I decided to try something not offered up here: Ugandan cuisine!

This is by far the strangest venue. The restaurant is inside a lady's house across from Van Nuys High School. It's just a regular single family home. The only difference is there are a lot of tables and chairs in the large backyard and the kitchen has two stoves.

There was no menu. The lady just served me what she was cooking. The goat in the bowl was amazing. It was smoked first and then stewed. The plate was carbo-licious. First, we have chicken plov. That's what she called it, plov. That's a big hunk of plantain on top. Then we have some triangular pancakes which were very much like Chinese bing. Except it had a peanut flavor. On the top left is a sweet potato smothered with a rich peanut sauce. It was really good, but it was too much. Three big tablespoons of that could be a meal in itself.

This experience was like no other. It's definitely not for everyone, but if you are curious, here is a professional review of the place.

Countries tried so far:
Africa: Algeria, DR Congo, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Liberia, Madagascar, Mauritius, Morocco, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Somalia, South Africa, Sudan, Tunisia, Uganda, Zimbabwe
Asia: Afghanistan, Armenia, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Burma, Cambodia, China, Georgia, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Japan, Jordan, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Lebanon, Malaysia, Maldives, Mongolia, Nepal, North Korea, Pakistan, Palestine, Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Syria, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, Yemen
Europe: Albania, Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czechia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, Vatican City
North America: Belize, Canada, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, St Kitts & Nevis, Trinidad & Tobago, USA
South America: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay, Venezuela
Oceania: Australia, Fiji, Samoa, Tonga

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

2019 Jaguar XJR575

I was looking at my local Jaguar dealer's inventory (don't ask) and came upon the XJR575. I had no idea this thing even existed.

Next car: Fuel cell?

I just learned about the Hyundai Nexo today. It's a fuel cell SUV that comes with $13,000 worth of free hydrogen. Fortunately, in California, we have a decent fuel network. There are three stations within 15 miles of us.

Here is the Nexo:

And some stats for comparison:

Toyota Mirai fuel cell: 0-60 in 8.9 seconds, weight 4,075 pounds, price $58,500
Honda Clarity fuel cell: 0-60 in 8.1 seconds, weight 4,134 pounds, price $58,490
Hyundai Nexo fuel cell: 0-60 in 9.5 seconds, weight 4,116 pounds, price $58,300

State of the boy's Hot Wheels collection

Before the boy was born, I accumulated around 50 Hot Wheels cars. I kept them in the garage and slowly, one by one, gave the cars to him. I gave him the last one this week. He has lost or misplaced approximately a third of them.

I had this afternoon off and since rain was predicted, I took the boy to find some new cars. First, we went to the mall. Now that is a depressing place on a weekday afternoon. And surprisingly, the mall did not have a toy store. We then went to Target, and their selection was awful. Other than a Charger and a Viper, all the other Hot Wheels there were "pretend" cars.

We ended up at one of the local drug stores that has a reputation of carrying decent cars, and we ended up with the red Civic hatchback in the middle.

Wednesday, May 08, 2019

Buying a used car online through Carvana

While walking with the boy around the block yesterday, we saw one of these Carvana Isuzu flatbeds drop off a white Kia Soul for one of my neighbors. I asked the friendly tow truck driver and he told me about the company. It's basically Carmax, but it's all done online, and they deliver the used car at your door!