The Art of Racing in the Rain

The Art of Racing in the Rain

The Art of Racing in the Rain Chapter 26 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
As spring approaches, life proceeds as usual. Eve continues the process of dying while she and Zoë remain with Trish and Maxwell, but Enzo says that Denny is allowing himself one diversion. He received a job offer to drive cars for a television commercial at Thunderhill Raceway Park in California, and decided to drive himself and Enzo down for it. Enzo remarks that he feels like he and Denny are partners in crime escaping their troubles.
Enzo finally acknowledges directly that Eve is going to die and he believes it's true. Despite this, Denny and Enzo's relationship remains strong and Enzo is thrilled to get to spend this time with Denny. We see how Enzo prioritizes Denny's happiness with his support for this diversion.
Themes
What It Means to Be Human Theme Icon
Love and Family Theme Icon
Illness and Death Theme Icon
The track is beautiful, new, and well maintained. After they arrive, Denny and Enzo go out to jog on the track and Denny explains that he's looking for visual markers to help him drive it later. When they return to the paddock area, Denny meets Ken, the person in charge of the event, and he tells Denny he can take his personal car out on the track if he'd like. Denny asks Pat, one of the crewmembers, for a tie-down, glancing at Enzo. Jim, another crewmember, comes over with a sheet. They make Enzo sit in the front seat and use the sheet to tightly secure him. Enzo, realizing what's going to happen, is beside himself with excitement. As Denny gets in the driver's seat, he tells Enzo to bark twice for faster and once for slower, and Enzo barks twice, making Pat and Jim laugh.
Denny here speaks candidly to Enzo, which continues to build the idea that their relationship is a very close (and almost humanlike) one. Further, Denny is explaining racing to Enzo, which Enzo loves and will later use to flesh out his ideas of spirituality and destiny. Enzo's non-human narration provides pacing of understanding for this scene, as the reader finds out at about the same time that Enzo does that he's finally going to get to experience the track firsthand.
Themes
Language and Storytelling Theme Icon
Destiny and Spirituality Theme Icon
Denny and Enzo cruise onto the track and take several slow laps as Denny studies the track, explaining his strategy for Enzo. After three laps, he asks Enzo if he'd like to try a hot lap, and Enzo barks twice. Denny laughs, and they're off. Enzo loves the experience and describes the turns as magnificent. He tells the reader that Denny unfolded for him that day, and Enzo gained a greater sense of understanding of the type of driver and person that Denny is watching him drive from inside the car. When Denny finishes and they release Enzo from the car, Enzo tells the reader that there's nothing more to tell about that trip, because the experience of being out on the track with Denny was so tremendous. He says that sometimes in his dreams, he dreams of being on the Thunderhill track with Denny and barks twice.
Denny continues to explain his strategy and racing theory for Enzo, which Enzo files away for later use. As Enzo watches Denny drive, Denny's character becomes clearer for Enzo as well as the reader. We begin to understand better how Denny's driving experience influences his real-life experiences, which Enzo will later continue to consider as he offers the reader more analysis of this intersection. We see how much this experience affected Enzo, as it goes on to influence his dreams, in much the same way that the crows did.
Themes
What It Means to Be Human Theme Icon
Language and Storytelling Theme Icon
Love and Family Theme Icon
Destiny and Spirituality Theme Icon