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2019 Roadkill Nights by Dodge is a smashing success

by Patrick Rall on

For the first time in several years, Roadkill Nights by Dodge, held at the M1 Concourse in Pontiac, Michigan, was completely unhampered by Mother Nature, leading to two full days of high performance festival fun for more than 47,000 people.

Roadkill Nights

After rain had ruined the racing program in each of the past two years while also driving away some potential spectators, 2019 went off without a hitch and for the first time, the event was held over the course two days rather than one. With clear skies, manageable temperatures and two days of Dodge focused fun, Roadkill 2019 was the best to date.

Roadkill Nights

If you are a fan of the Dodge brand or American high performance in general, Roadkill Nights is an event that you absolutely have to experience at least once. While the event is sponsored by Dodge and there is loads of Dodge branding throughout the event, it is open to all makes and models, both in the show area and the racing program, so this is a festival that appeals to everyone – not just Mopar lovers.

Roadkill Nights

Racing Program

The main focus of the Roadkill Nights event is the legal street racing program, which takes place on an 8th mile section of Woodward Avenue that runs along one side of the M1 Concourse facility property.

This legal street racing program is really what sets Roadkill Nights apart from any other event like it, as it is literally legal drag racing on a public street. This year, there were approximately 120 vehicles in the racing program, all of which were battling for three titles – Big Tire Champion, Small Tire Champion and Quickest Dodge.

The quickest Dodge in the field was the 1968 Dodge Charger of Jim Pranis (in the video above), who qualified for the Big Tire Quick 8, but he lost in the first round and a 1966 Pontiac GTO went on to win that class and the $10,000 cash prize. Fortunately, Pranis won $5,000 for being the quickest Dodge in the entire field.

Roadkill Nights

In the Small Tire class, there were no Dodge products and a Chevy Malibu took home the title and the $10,000 check for the win. However, Peter Bokedon and his 1972 Dodge Dart won $5,000 for being the quickest small tire Dodge in the field.

Roadkill Nights

It was disappointing to see so few Dodge and Mopar products in the Quick 8 of each class, but at least the rain stayed away and we all got to enjoy a day of legal street racing action.

Roadkill Nights

In addition to the normal racing program, there was also a celebrity shootout, with a collection of names and faces from around the automotive world battling in evenly matched Dodge Challenger 1320s. The team of Leah Pritchett and David Freiburger took home the title in this class, winning $10,000 for the United Way.

Also, Matt Hagan and Leah Pritchett each did gigantic burnouts on Woodward Ave with their race cars, which you can watch in the videos below.

Show-N-Shine and Thrill Rides

Within the confines of the M1 Concourse, there is a sprawling show-n-shine area display that snakes along the curves of the road course, which is the second key component of the event.

Roadkill Nights

Roadkill Nights

The show area has a heavy Dodge influence, but you see everything from other American muscle cars to European exotics.

Roadkill Nights

Roadkill Nights

As you walk through the show area, there are lots of Dodge displays where you can get free airbrushed tattoos, Dodge shirts and other cool, free stuff from FCA. There are also apparel displays where spectators can purchase other items, including a wide variety of food trucks and refreshments.

Roadkill Nights

Roadkill Nights

Finally, the key attraction for the folks who aren’t so interested in the street racing is the Dodge Thrill Rides. Over the past few years, Roadkill Nights has included a Thrill Ride area and starting in 2018, a second area was added to help move more people through the lines. For 2019, one thrill ride area was located on the skid pad in the middle of the M1 grounds while the second thrill ride area was held on the rear section of the M1 road course.

Roadkill Nights

In each of these areas, a team of professional drivers took small groups of people on an unforgettable ride in either Hellcat Challenger or Hellcat Charger, with plenty of tire smoke, drifting and speed.

Roadkill Nights

In total, more than 6,800 people went for a thrill ride in a supercharged Dodge over the course of the two days.

Roadkill Nights

Roadkill Nights

After some people left Roadkill Nights in 2017 and 2018 wet and dissatisfied with the day due to crappy weather, 2019 was an absolute blast and in speaking with those who attended as spectators, racers or show-n-shine participants, no one had anything negative to say about this year’s event.

Roadkill Nights

Roadkill Nights

Roadkill Nights

Roadkill Nights

Patrick Rall was raised a Mopar boy, spending years racing a Dodge Mirada while working his way through college. After spending a few years post-college in the tax accounting field, Patrick made the jump to the world of journalism and his work has been published in magazines and websites around the world.

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