The street legal drag racing Roadkill Nights is returning this year as the traditional kick off to the Motor City’s weeklong celebration of classic cars and car culture, revolving around the Woodward Dream Cruise.
It features legal street drag racing, a classic and modern muscle car show, interactive experiences and activities at M1 Concourse. It is one of several events that kicks off the cruise, which occurs the following weekend.
“Roadkill Nights — legal street racing powered by Dodge — is back this summer,” said Tim Kuniskis, Dodge Brand Chief Executive Officer — Stellantis.
Emphasis on the Brotherhood of Muscle
“Our Brotherhood of Muscle spoke — screamed, actually — that they were ready for it to return, so we’re doing it. Plus, this year we’re going to take it up a notch with a TV-versus-online build-and-race challenge. The ‘build rules’ are going to be really loose, so we should see some serious hardware being built to find out who’s faster: the TV or the Internet stars,” Kuniskis said.
The muscle-car image has been built into a key part of the Dodge identify and the Roadkill even has become an integral part of the effort to build the brand’s image.
Unlike any other event in the world, drivers of the fastest street-legal drag cars in America will have the opportunity to drag race in front of spectators on historic Woodward Avenue as it is transformed from a street into a sanctioned, 1/8-mile drag strip, organizers said.
COVID Pandemic forced cancellation in 2020
The Roadkill event began in 2015, attracting a steadily growing list of participants as well as fans. It was canceled last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But with restrictions lifting, the event is back for 2021.
Also returning for 2021 are Dodge thrill and drift rides in Challenger and Charger SRT Hellcats, where participants can go for the rides of their lives as the supercharged Hemi cuts the tires loose on the M1 Concourse skid pad and north loop portion of the track.
Other returning fan favorites include the high-octane virtual head-to-head racing in Dodge Challenger SRT Demon simulators; classic and modern muscle car show; dyno testing; “Roadkill” stunts; flamethrower, wheelstander, pro-mod exhibitions; family-friendly activities; and an eclectic array of food truck offerings (subject to change).
New racing format
Roadkill Nights is shifting gears this year with a new celebrity showdown format providing four popular automotive social media influencers each with a Dodge Hellcat, $10,000 in cash for car modifications and one task: build drag racing machines capable of besting Eric Malone, star of MotorTrend’s series “Fastest Cars in the Dirty South,” in a drag race.
The races and behind-the-scenes happenings will be aired as a one-hour “Roadkill Showdown Special” on MotorTrend’s streaming service and on MotorTrend TV.
“After a COVID-19 hiatus in 2020, we are proud to partner with Dodge and bring back for our fans Roadkill Nights,” said Eric Schwab, MotorTrend Group’s Group SVP, head of Revenue and Partnerships. “If you’ve ever dreamed of watching street-legal drag racing down Woodward Avenue, come to our event! We have Dodge thrill rides, a car show and street-legal drag racing. It’s going to be an absolutely epic day for anyone with a passion for cars,” he said. For those unable to attend in person, Dodge will offer a livestream feed to Roadkill Nights across a variety of channels, Stellantis representatives said.