Roadkill Nights Sets Attendance Record in Seventh Year

For its seventh iteration, MotorTrend Presents Roadkill Nights Powered by Dodge drew a one-day attendance record of more than 40,000 people to M1 Concourse in Pontiac on Saturday, Aug. 13, for the annual street-legal drag racing festival.
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Cars at the starting blocks for a drag race
The 2022 MotorTrend Presents Roadkill Nights Powered by Dodge drew a large crowd to M1 Concourse to watch street-legal drag racing and experience the power Dodge and Ram vehicles in drift and thrill rides on the M1 Concourse track. // Courtesy of Stellantis

For its seventh iteration, MotorTrend Presents Roadkill Nights Powered by Dodge drew a one-day attendance record of more than 40,000 people to M1 Concourse in Pontiac on Saturday, Aug. 13, for the annual street-legal drag racing festival.

“This is the seventh year of MotorTrend Presents Roadkill Nights Powered by Dodge and what a difference — we’ve gone from racing in the parking lot of an abandoned stadium (former Pontiac Silverdome) to legal street drag racing on historic Woodward Avenue, with M1 Concourse serving as an amazing stage for our horsepower circus,” says Tim Kuniskis, Dodge brand CEO.

The event, which also drew more than 1 million online views, transformed the historic Woodward Avenue into a 1/8-mile straight-line dragstrip that featured 115 street-legal drag racers, while spectators had the chance to get their adrenaline pumping with thrill and drift rides in Dodge Challenger and Dodge Charger SRT Hellcats and Ram TRX trucks on the M1 Concourse.

RoadKill Nights leveled up last year’s Grudge Race, adding a new spin to the Dodge Direct Connection Grudge Match. Eight automotive personalities faced off for a chance to take on 2021 champion, Alex Taylor, on the drag strip.

All nine competitors — Tavarish, Westen Champlin, throtl, Christina Roki, Demonology, Corruptt Builds, Collete Davis, David Patterson, and Alex Taylor — received the challenge of building and running a Direct Connection crate engine that they could modify as they pleased. However, they had the added challenge of competing with a Direct Connection six-speed manual transmission, and within a $10,000 budget.

Defending champion, drag racer, mechanic, and co-host of MotorTrend’s “Hot Rod Garage,” Taylor matched her 1955 Plymouth Savoy against the 2016 Dodge Challenger of Champlin, who beat out seven other automotive builders in eliminations for the right to face Taylor in the finals. It was Taylor taking the win again, launching strong and outrunning Champlin to the finish stripe.

“It was great seeing thousands of Dodge enthusiasts come out to the event and cheer Alex Taylor as she defended her crown and took the win in the Dodge Direction Connection Grudge Race,” says Kuniskis. “We’re going to give performance lovers even more to cheer about as we push the pedal on Dodge Speed Week, with three separate nights of worldwide product reveals and a full brand display on Woodward Avenue during Dream Cruise weekend on Aug. 20.”

The Big Tire and Small Tire classes saw 115 competitors battling for bragging rights and cash prizes totaling $30,000 on the  1/8-mile Woodward Avenue drag strip, with unique urban features including an active railway located just behind the starting line. Each class winner earned $10,000, with the quickest Dodge cars in both classes taking home $5,000 each.

Additional activities included a Direct Connection Alley area at the event with Dodge Challenger SRT Demon virtual drag race simulators, Direct Connection crate engines and parts on display, a First Responder Showdown between Southeast Michigan fire and rescue teams, a classic/modern muscle car show with more than 260 vehicles, and Jim Brewer’s “Peacemaker” wheelstander and motorcycle exhibition by Rae Ripple.

“Roadkill Nights brings ‘Roadkill’ inspired car culture to life with the thrill of fingers-clenching, top-speed drag racing, which is why 40,000 performance enthusiasts flooded the gates this year,” says Eric Schwab, MotorTrend Group’s Group senior vice president and head of revenue, operations, and partnerships. “There’s something for everyone at Roadkill Nights — drag racers, performance enthusiasts, families, and anyone who is simply looking to have a great day at an iconic location.”

In related news, M1 Concourse is hosting the Woodward Dream Show on Friday, Aug. 19, from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., featuring a number of “must see” cars, including two of the 32 vehicles listed on the National Historic Vehicle Registry.

A detailed schedule of the event is below:

10 a.m. — Woodward Dream Show opens to the public, including shuttles to and from off-site parking located at 2000 S. Opdyke Rd. Show opens with food trucks in the Woodward Paddock and Arena, the M1 Kid Zone in the Woodward Paddock, as well as remote control cars, slot cars, and pedal cars. Show car voting via QR Code electronic voting begins.

11 a.m. — Biergarten opens in the Arena (next to the stage) and M1 Concourse will begin to offer Race Speed Track Experiences on North Loop of the track.

12 p.m. —  A live unveiling of Mobsteel’s Motor City Vice at the M1 Concourse Stage. Celebrate 100 years of the Lincoln brand and get an opportunity to see, sit in, and take a selfie with this never-before-seen automobile.

3 p.m. to 9 p.m. — Live music on the M1 Concourse Stage will start. The stage is located in the Arena and next to the Biergarten.

4 p.m. — The Automotive Heritage Foundation’s Automotive Heritage Awards will take place at the M1 Concourse Stage.

5 p.m. — Show car voting via QR Code electronic voting closes.

5 p.m. to 6 p.m. — M1 Concourse presents the “Insiders’ Garage”, conversations that go under the hood with auto experts and insiders, hosted by “Big Jim” O’Brien of 94.7 WCSX. Panelists include Kevin Byrd of Two Guys Garage, Adam Genei of Mobsteel, Murray Pfaff of Pfaff Design, and Steve Mank of Spike TV’s “Muscle Car.”

6 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. — Woodward Dream Show Awards will take place on the M1 Concourse Stage.

Other notable vehicles to be featured at the event include Simply Red, a ’33 Ford built by Boyd Coddington and Chip Foose; 1974 Mopar Missile, built for Dodge and Plymouth; the 1952 Fabulous Hudson Hornet, a NASCAR champion and inspiration for the character Doc Hudson in the movie “Cars,” that was recently placed on the National Historic Vehicle Registry; and more.

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