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2020 Roadkill Nights Powered by Dodge canceled due to COVID19 pandemic

by Patrick Rall on

Roadkill Nights Powered by Dodge has become one of the premier annual automotive events in the Metro Detroit, featuring legal street racing on Woodward Avenue and a sprawling festival at the M1 Concourse. This year would have been the sixth installation of the incredible high performance event, but sadly, the ongoing COVID19 pandemic has forced Dodge and the event organizers to cancel the fun for 2020. This doesn’t come as a huge surprise, but with many areas around the country slowly getting back to normal, some automotive enthusiasts had hoped that Roadkill Nights in August would be spared. However, like so many other key events of 2020, including many of the festivities of the Woodward Dream Cruise, Roadkill has been canceled.


“When we first introduced ‘Roadkill Nights Powered by Dodge’ five years ago as a pop-up car show and drag race, we never imagined it would grow to nearly 50,000 performance enthusiasts over two days,” said Tim Kuniskis, Global Head of Alfa Romeo and Head of Passenger Cars – Dodge, SRT, Chrysler and FIAT, FCA – North America. “One thing that can’t be canceled is the passion our Dodge SRT enthusiasts have for performance car culture, and we fully expect to see our Dodge Challenger, Charger, and Durango owners cruising Woodward throughout the summer, at a safe distance, of course.”

Roadkill Nights Powered by Dodge started back in 2015 at the Pontiac Silverdome and back then, the drag racing was conducted in the parking lot of the now-demolished football stadium. Allpar was one of the few media outlets to cover that event while also being one of the few that has provided coverage each year.

For 2016, the event moved to the grounds of the M1 Concourse in Pontiac, which allowed the organizers to move the drag racing program onto a section of Woodward Avenue that runs across the front of the M1 Concourse. The grounds of the massive road racing facility proved to be ideal for the show-n-shine, the Dodge thrill rides and the many Dodge-based attractions, along with a ton of food trucks and a play area for kids, while the proximity to Woodward Avenue allowed the event to brag about offering legal street racing.

Although the event was plagued by accidents and rain, Roadkill Nights has gotten bigger and better every year. The drag racing program attracted more racers with faster race cars and the attractions inside of the road racing venue drew more spectators each year. Also, the organizers were able to streamline and perfect certain aspects of the event each year, so overall, Roadkill Nights has become more fun for everyone over the past five years. The event effectively became the start of the week-long Woodward Dream Cruise festivities, with Roadkill Nights and the Dream Cruise combining to give out-of-towners two reasons to make the trip to Metro Detroit.

Unfortunately, several municipalities along the Woodward Dream Cruise route constantly look for reasons to kill the event and this year, that reason is the COVID19 pandemic. Local politicians who don’t care about the massive amount of money that the Dream Cruise brings to the area would rather see it killed off altogether, but in the past, they didn’t have a good reason to stop the event. This year, the ongoing risk of COVID19 has proven to be reason enough to cancel the attractions along the cruise route.

Mind you, we still fully expect that there will be thousands of cruisers on Woodward Avenue on August 15th, but we can expect that several of the municipalities along the route will prevent people from gathering in parking lots to watch. The small car shows along the route are likely to be prohibited, along with the food trucks and other displays lining Woodward Avenue. With the Woodward Dream Cruise being minimized, coupled with the sharp downturn in business in the automotive industry, it comes as little surprise that the call was made to cancel the 2020 Roadkill Nights Powered by Dodge.

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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