Auto-da-Fe by Roger Zelazny
Dangerous Visions, 1967
From Wikipedia: An auto-da-fe was the ritual of public penance of comdemned heretics by the Spanish Inquisition. The most common form was burning at the stake.
Zelazny envisions a world where men challenge cars in a futuristic version of bullfighting. The bullfighter comes back after dying twice to enter the ring for a third round of fights. How did he return after dying two times? The author never explains. Based on the descriptions it sounds like some bionic parts might have been used to repair his body but that is strictly my thought on the subject. I do not have proof that is what happened.
The ending is when "auto-da-fe" comes into play.
I rate this as middle Zelazny. It is not one of his best stories but is still very interesting. I did not feel a connection with the main character. I think it could have been helped with more pages to flesh him out.
An interesting read but not one of Zelazny's best short stories. It appeared in Harlan Ellison's influential "Dangerous Visions" anthology but I do not consider it one of Zelazny's most influential stories.