Have you ever engaged in a street race? If so, you’re not alone. But let’s not kid ourselves, street racing is dangerous and about as illegal and socially irresponsible as it gets. But what if there was a magical place where you could choose opponents, do smoky burnouts and blast off the line without worry of harming others or getting arrested and kissing your driver’s license goodbye?
That’s what Roadkill Nights Powered by Dodge is all about, and on Saturday, August 14, hundreds of street racers will let it all hang out – without risking a night in jail. Better still, the traction action runs all day, from 11:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. with lots of comfortable spectator seating.
Since the first event in 2015, the folks at MotorTrend / Roadkill and Dodge convinced the city fathers of Pontiac, Michigan, to close off a roughly half-mile section of Woodward Avenue for … you guessed it … sanctioned street racing!
And every year since then, with the exception of 2020 due to COVID restrictions, hundreds of racers and thousands of spectators – like nearly fifty thousand – have gathered at Pontiac’s M1 Concourse – and that all-important section of Woodward Avenue next to it – for street racing, Roadkill Nights style.
Although the event is largely sponsored by Dodge, as Dodge Brand Chief Officer – Stellantis, Tim Kuniskis says, “The Brotherhood of Muscle spoke … and we brought it back.” Kuniskis, who built and dragged a fast Fox-body Ford Mustang 5.0 in earlier days, knows that without competition from GM, Ford and import machinery, there’s no party. So drivers of every make of go-fast vehicles are welcome at Roadkill Nights.
As an added bonus this year, the Dodge Hellcat Grudge Race puts Eric Malone, star of MotorTrend’s Fastest Cars In The Dirty South TV series in the crosshairs of teams of contenders seeking to win the $10,000 cash prize. Each team will race an SRT® Hellcat engine-powered Charger or Challenger that’s been modified in no-holds-barred, run what ya brung match race style. Horsepower isn’t the main challenge. It’ll be more about which team can stick that power to the surface of Woodward Avenue!
Beyond the exciting street racing, the M1 Concourse grounds play host to the Dodge Thrill Ride caravan where folks take shotgun-seat rides in SRT Hellcat HEMI® engine-powered vehicles on the road course and drift pad and drag fans can test their skills aboard the Demon Drag Strip Simulators. There’s also a car show – open to all makes – a manufacturer’s midway and plenty of food and drink.
Your author (that’d be me, Steve “Scat Pack” Magnante) will be hosting the all-day podcast from the side of the Woodward Avenue starting line where I’ve had the honor of calling the action since 2017. In my three years of hosting, I’ve had the pleasure of witnessing – and describing to the podcast audience – the sight of NHRA Top Fuel superstar Leah Pritchett waiting in her 8,000-plus-horsepower Papa John’s Pizza / Dodge sponsored HEMI dragster as an Amtrak passenger train slowly crept through the impromptu Woodward Avenue bleach box (which is situated right next to a very active railroad crossing). I also watched warily as TV showman Richard “Fast and Loud” Rawlings inadvertently soaked his SRT Hellcat Challenger’s rear tires with water before launching on a squirrely, tire-spinning run that bounced the Challenger off the median barrier on one wheel before settling back to earth. He wasn’t hurt but the video clip went viral in seconds.
I’m looking forward to seeing – and describing – all of the cars and races that’ll take place on Saturday, August 14. You can still secure your tickets for this year’s event, but if you can’t be there in person, you can view all the action LIVE right here on DodgeGarage.com all day. Yes, we’re going street racing on Woodward Avenue! But this time there’s no need to call the bail bondsman! See you there; and until then, check out these sights from previous years.