by Patrick Rall
Shortly before the Woodward Dream Cruise, Dodge put on a free event at the Pontiac Silverdome, featuring the hosts of the Internet show Roadkill. They had a car show, drag racing with a Hellcat Hemi powertrain grand prize, thrill rides in the Hellcat Challenger and Viper, Dodge displays with free shirts, and a match race between the teams from Roadkill and Fast N Loud.
This event was free, whether you brought a race car, a show car, or just came out to watch. I spoke with folks in the various areas and the response was overwhelmingly positive.
Before heading to the Roadkill Nights Powered by Dodge event, I had read quite a bit of unpleasantness online posted by people who were unable to get free tickets (they were first come, first serve, and limited to 7,000 spots for spectators). Some didn’t understand the ticket process, and they also took to the internet to complain, insisting that the process of getting into the event was going to be a nightmare.
When I arrived, it appeared to be quite the opposite, with clear sailing once you got into the ’Dome. According to Chrysler, more than 10,000 people attended, when you took into account the spectators, show car people, and racers, but the predicted crowded nightmare didn’t happen.
The entry process was simple and easy, and once inside, though the event was “sold out,” there was space to move around. Some of the Dodge displays had free items for signing up, along with food trucks (the food wasn’t free, water was, and there were plenty of port-a-potties.) The only “issue” was the lack of grandstand space around the track, but there is only so much that you can do in terms of temporary seating for 10,000+ people.
The drag racing action was fast, loose and incredibly exciting, with the Quickest Dodge Shootout and the match race between Roadkill and Fast N Loud serving as a great end to the evening.
During the course of the six-hour event, I wandered all over the grounds, taking in the sights and speaking with different folks at the event. There were a great many Dodge owners and fans there, and with the heavy Dodge corporate presence, it was like a Dodge fan’s dream come true. However, I spoke with a great many Ford, GM, and import fans and owners, and they were all loving the show. Since the racing and car show areas were both open to all makes and models, there was a little something for everyone in addition to a heavy dose of Mopar muscle.
Many of the spectators were impressed with how elaborate of an event Dodge had put on, especially considering that it was free to everyone. Almost all of the people I spoke with said that they would come to another event like this one, even if it wasn’t free, as the show, the racing action and the thrill ride programs were worth a small admission fee in their opinions. The overall consensus was that the Roadkill event was a huge success and people were really praising Dodge for putting together this free event.
My favorite comment was from a guy with a Ford shirt, who asked me “If Chrysler is the smallest of the Detroit automakers, why can’t Ford or GM afford to do something like this?” I don’t know the answer, but he has a good point.
Really, no one had any complaints about the actual event, shy of a few people who had hoped to see more tickets available in the future, as those people had friends who wanted to come but who could not get tickets. There was plenty of space around the Silverdome for the event to grow and with the 2016 event already being confirmed – Dodge has a chance to take an awesome event and make it both bigger and better in 2016.
This is one event that you want to make sure that you attend as part of your 2016 Woodward Dream Cruise week festivities.
Also see the Quickest Dodge Shootout (with video) and the Roadkill vs Fast N Loud Grudge Match (with video)
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