After a year off due to the pandemic, MotorTrend Presents Roadkill Nights Powered By Dodge returned to Woodward Avenue this past Saturday, drawing around 38,000 fans to the grounds of M1 Concourse in Pontiac, Michigan the annual street-legal drag racing festival.
“Roadkill Nights is all about stoking the passion of the Dodge Brotherhood of Muscle, and this year the energy and excitement of our fans was off the charts — people were so pumped up to be back on Woodard Avenue celebrating the return of live, street-legal drag racing,” said Tim Kuniskis, Dodge CEO. “In its sixth year, Roadkill Nights remains the ultimate celebration of performance-car culture and the perfect grassroots event to showcase what Dodge represents — a pure performance brand.
“We set out to settle once and for all the great debate; who’s faster: TV or online car builders. In the end, the debate will rage on until next year.”
Roadkill and Dodge transformed the historic Woodward Avenue, into a 1/8-mile prepped drag racing surface for 110 street-legal drag racers, while fans got a chance to get involved with thrill and drift rides in their favorite Dodge vehicles around the Champion Motor Speedway track at M1 Concourse.
New for 2021, was the Hellcat Grudge Race, which pitted Eric Malone of MotorTrend TV’s “Fastest Cars in the Dirty South” against four online automotive builders in a heads-up grudge match. Those online builders selected were Alex Taylor, Tavarish, Westen Champlin, and Throtl. Each received a soon-to-be crushed Dodge Charger or Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye and $10,000 in cash for modifications to make to their cars.
Taylor emerged victorious in the battle between the four online builders, earning a spot in the final round faceoff against Malone thanks to a .002-second reaction time that helped her knock out Westen Champlin and his twin-turbo modified Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Redeye. Taylor was victorious in her modified, racing slicks-equipped Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye ride after Malone left the line too early in his Charger SRT Hellcat Redeye. In a “just for fun” exhibition run after the final, Malone left first and beat Taylor to the finish line, leaving room open for further discussion in the TV-versus-online builder debate.
“I’m so glad to have had the opportunity to go head to head in this build-off and Hellcat Grudge Race against four worthy opponents: Alex, Tavarish, Westen, and Throtl,” said Malone. “No matter the outcome, the race has proven that TV and online builders and racers each bring something special to the table, and we all brought our A-games to Roadkill Nights. I look forward to seeing what these four builders do in the future, and hope to have the opportunity to race against them again soon.”
The Big Tire (unlimited size tires) and Small Tire (tires 275 mm wide or narrower) classes saw competitors battling for bragging rights and cash prizes totaling $30,000 on the iconic 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.
Jimmer Kline, of Wyoming, Michigan, repeated as champion in the Big Tire class. Kline raced his 1966 Acadian Chevy to victory in the final against Litchfield, Ohio’s Jeremy Bonnett, and his 1928 Pontiac Sedan. The event wrapped up with one of the best races of the day, as Nicholas Taylor drove his 2000 Ford Mustang to a razor-thin win in the Small Tire final over Shawn Fensler’s 1993 Ford Mustang in a battle of Fort Wayne, Indiana, natives.
James Pranis of Verona, Pennsylvania, (Big Tire – 1968 Dodge Charger) and Peter Bokedon of Roseville, Michigan, (Small Tire – 1972 Dodge Dart) earned back-to-back honors as the Quickest Dodge winners in their respective classes. Both also claimed the Quickest Dodge purse at the 2019 Roadkill Nights Powered by Dodge event.
Additional activities included a First Responder Showdown between southeast Michigan fire and rescue teams, virtual head-to-head racing in Dodge Challenger SRT Demon simulators, a classic/modern muscle car show with 300 vehicles, and flamethrower, wheel stander, and pro-mod exhibitions.
Unique event fan packages and experiences were also auctioned off, raising thousands of dollars for the United Way for Southeastern Michigan.
Fans unable to attend MotorTrend Presents Roadkill Nights Powered by Dodge can view an event replay at the top of this page. Two half-hour Roadkill episodes will air on MotorTrend television, with additional coverage in an hour-long episode of MotorTrend’s Roadkill TV series later this year.