A novel that tells a heartwarming story that also discusses the absolute thrill of racing offers a lot of the same ideals of Athena Racing.
“The Art of Racing in the Rain,” a novel by Garth Stein, is narrated by an enlightened dog, Enzo. Throughout the story, Enzo pulls the reader through times of love and mourning, but also the unbeatable feeling of flying through the curves of the race track in the passenger seat of his owner Denny’s race car.
Stein said he got a late start in racing but started logging some time on the track around 2001 in Seattle where he raced a Spec Miata with the Sports Car Club of America for about six years.
“It really gave me the backdrop of the racing culture that I could use in The Art of Racing in the Rain,” Stein said.
In the novel, Enzo is mesmerized with Denny’s wife Eve’s pregnancy and her ability to grow a human life. Trying to relate this admiration of the female body to Athena Racing supporting young ladies, I asked Stein how this line could apply to women in racing.
“If everything in the world could be done by women instead of men, everything would be done better. That’s just a fact. And we know that. Enlightened men know that. The problem is that the unenlightened men are still clinging to power and are trying to not let their power go,” Stein said. “But honestly, I would prefer it if women just ran everything because they’re smarter, they’re more compassionate, they’re more patient, they’re not as rash. I mean they’re so – I mean, are you kidding me – I wish it were all women racers out there.”
Throughout the novel, Stein writes about many racing mottos through Enzo’s philosophical perspective. One aspect he mentions is the importance of a team in racing. Since the team aspect of Athena Racing will be immensely important, I asked Stein his personal perspective on what the power of a team means.
“If you are coordinated as a team and work as a unit, you can accomplish a lot more than as a bunch of individuals trying to get something done,” Stein said.
As Athena Racing focuses on building up young females, I asked Stein about when Denny and Eve’s daughter, Zoe, beats Denny at K1 Speed. As a father of three, Stein said nothing would make him happier than if his children beat him in a race.
While Stein’s novel was not meant to coordinate with Athena Racing’s message directly, Stein touched on key racing characteristics that derived from his own experience in racing such as, “The visible becomes inevitable. Your car goes where your eyes go,” and, “That which you manifest is before you.” Whether he meant to or not, Stein acknowledged the power of women both within the novel and on a personal level during our interview.
Stein has experienced incredible stories from his readers of the ways his story aligned with theirs and provided hope. As the staff at Athena Racing read the book and attended the film premiere, we saw how the core values of “The Art of Racing in the Rain” resonated with the core ideas for which Athena Racing stands.
Stein wrote, “The best drivers don’t dwell on the future or the past. The best drivers focus only on the present.” As an all-female race team, the Athena Racing ladies will have to “demolish the status quo,” as Athena Racing Executive Director Loxley Browne would say. The Athena Racing team will not focus on the past or the future, but on the present – on training hard, busting down the doors of the STEM and automotive industries, and entering the track with strength and confidence.
On The Track
– Garth Stein
Championing Young Ladies Who Are Demolishing the