Dodge plans to offer big prizes and host a shootout between vehicle builders as part of its Roadkill Nights legal street racing event scheduled for Aug. 14 on Woodward Avenue in Pontiac, Michigan north of Detroit.
Tim Kuniskis, Dodge brand chief executive officer, told reporters during a briefing for Roadkill Nights, which routinely attracts crowds of upwards of 50,000 people, also is a key part of promoting the brand. The event is one of several leading up to the annual Woodward Dream Cruise, which like Roadkill Nights, is returning from a 1-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“At Dodge, we’re all about fun and what we call the ‘Brotherhood of Muscle.’ It’s a big deal for the brand,” said Kuniskis, “and for anyone who likes fast cars. It’s our Super Bowl.”
As part of the 2021 event, the sixth since it began in the parking lot of the now-razed Pontiac Silverdome, Dodge is offering $10,000 in prize money to the racers selected to race on Woodward in August. “With that kind of prize money, we expect to draw some serious cars,” said Kuniskis, noting the competition is open to rival brands, such as Chevrolet and Ford.
Time to settle a grudge
To keep the event interesting, Roadkill also is sponsoring a competition featuring Eric Malone, star of MotorTrend’s series “Fastest Cars in the Dirty South,” who will race against cars built by online “influencers.”
Each of the participant in the “grudge match” between the cable television star and the influencers will be given a new Hellcat and $10,000 to outfit or tweak the Hellcat any way they want, Kuniskis said. The ultimate prize is bragging rights, he said.
Malone, who participated in the press briefing along with MotorTrend’s Mike Finnegan, said he is already coming up with ideas to squeeze more than 1,000 horsepower out of the Hellcat engine.
To enter the competition, would-be racers can go to The Dodge Garage website for information. The site also will offer regular updates, such the competition to get into the event among the influencers throughout the next several weeks.
“We’re all about fun at Dodge,” said Kuniskis, noting muscle cars have a huge number of fans around the country.
Muscle car competition
The Roadkill completion, which claims to be the only legal drag race held on public streets in the U.S. and causes serious heartburn in the Stellantis law department, has helped Dodge become the top-selling purveyor of muscle cars.
The Dodge Charger and Dodge Challenger, which saw their sales increase in the first quarter at a time when sales of traditional passenger cars are fading, easily outsold their Detroit-based rivals, according to the sales figures published by all three carmakers.
In the first quarter of 2021, the last full quarter from which sales figures are available, Dodge sold 34,836 Charger and Challengers, while Ford sold 17,274 Ford Mustangs and General Motors sold 7,089 Chevrolet Camaros. Sales of both the Mustang and the Camaro dropped slightly in the first quarter of 2021, according to company sales reports.