This past weekend marked the fourth annual Roadkill Nights Powered by Dodge in Metro Detroit and as one of the few journalists who has attended the event every year, I can comfortably say that 2018 was the best Roadkill Detroit event thus far. Rain brought an early end to the program, but the weather held off long enough for racers, show car drivers and spectators to enjoy a long day of high performance fun.

Roadkill Keeps Getting Better

The first Roadkill Nights by Dodge event was held in the parking lot of the Pontiac Silverdome back in 2015 and it was an incredible event, but the Roadkill folks, Dodge and the local authorities of Pontiac, Michigan took the event to the next level in 2016. That was when the event was moved to the M1 Concourse road racing facility along Woodward Avenue, with the drag racing program being held on the public street (closed, of course).

That first year at M1, the organizers and the staff were clearly overwhelmed by the number of show cars, race cars and spectators, making getting into the event a nightmare. Once inside, there were long lines for everything and the racing program was unfortunately disorganized.

For 2017, the organization of the program was far better, cutting down on much of the frustrating traffic getting to the event. Also, the key features of the event had been improved to make for a better experience for spectators, but the racing program was plagued with problems that were beyond the control of the people running the event. An early crash followed by on-and-off rain all day long made for a racing program that was hard to follow due to the frequent, lengthy delays.

For 2018, all of the logistics issues in getting into the event were fixed. There were no long lines for entry or for parking around the event. The show cars and race cars were able to check in the day before, so getting into the facility was very quick and easy, with an army of staff members who were quickly lining up the Show N Shine cars in their parking area while race cars were taken directly to their “pit area” on Woodward Ave.

There were more food trucks and a second Dodge Hellcat thrill ride, so while there were still lines for things, the lines were cut way down and as a result, there were far fewer grumpy people walking around the grounds.

In fact, everything went to smoothly throughout the day that it was hard to find anyone who didn’t enjoy their time at Roadkill 2018. Even with an early issue with a car damaging the starting Christmas tree, delaying the action for a while and forcing the drag racing program to go to an arm drop format, the racing program ran nicely for hours.

"Roadkill Nights Powered by Dodge is an absolute larger-than-life event that represents what Dodge is all about: power, performance and excitement,” said Steve Beahm, Head of Passenger Car Brands – Dodge//SRT, Chrysler, and FIAT, FCA – North America. “Going beyond the need for speed, this event offers an incredible opportunity for pure enthusiasts to come together and share their passion for classic and performance car culture in a sanctioned environment.”

More Rain

In short, the organizers basically fixed all of the problems from the previous few years, but the one thing that they could stop is the rain. Around 7pm or so, shortly after the Celebrity Hellcat Shootout had wrapped up with Bill Goldberg taking home $10,000 for his military charity, hard rains hit the area. The rain came down for 20-30 minutes and as the rain stopped, the track crew began to work on drying out the racing surface. Unfortunately, it started to rain again as the sun went down, making it too wet to continue racing.

I had my Hellcat Challenger in the Show N Shine area, so after the rains finally stopped around 8:30, I dried the car off, but it was so humid that condensation quickly began to build immediately after I wiped off the car. This dampness was everywhere, so there was just no way that the track crew was ever going to get Woodward Ave dry enough to send a bunch of 7- to 9-second cars down the temporary track.

Racing Wrap Up

Since the racing program didn’t get into the eliminations before the event was called off due to rain, the event organizers decided to pool the cash prizes for each class and split them among the 8 quickest vehicles in each class.

The event included a class for big tire cars and a class for small tire cars, with a $5,000 bonus to the fastest Dodge in each class and the intention to hold a Quick 8 shootout in each class. Instead, each of the 8 quickest cars in each class won $1,250 and those drivers are listed below:


Top 8 Finalists (Big Tire)
• Gary Box, Ohio: 1965 Chevrolet Corvette
• Craig Groebner, Minnesota: 1971 Chevrolet Nova
• Leon Hudson, Virginia: 1965 Plymouth Barracuda
• Jimmer Kline, Michigan: 1966 Pontiac GTO
• Jim Kline III, Michigan: 1996 Chevrolet Arcadian
• Mike Mislivec, Michigan: 1982 Pontiac Trans AM
• Bryan Rosario, Michigan: 1972 Chevrolet Camaro
• Mark McGill, Michigan: 1978 Chevrolet Camaro

 Top 8 Finalists (Small Tire)
• Peter Bokedon, Michigan: 1972 Dodge Dart
• William Gill, Michigan: 1966 Shelby Cobra
• Adam Hodson, Indiana: 1973 Chevrolet Camaro
• Kenny Laflower, Indiana: 1970 AMC Javelin
• John Lopez, Ohio: 1988 Ford Mustang
• Justin Spiniolas, Illinois: 1991 GMC Sonoma
• Carl Stancell, Michigan: 1984 Chevrolet s10 Blazer
• Rick Steinke, Pennsylvania: 1967 Chevrolet Chevelle

In addition to those 16 cars and drivers, James Pranis and his 1968 Dodge Charger took home $5,000 for being the fastest Dodge in the Big Tire class while Peter Bokedon and his 1972 Dodge Dart won the $5,000 bonus for being the quickest Dodge in the small tire class.

Celebrity Hellcat Shootout

Earlier this week, we brought you the video of Richard Rawlings crashing during the Celebrity Hellcat Shootout, but the bigger news from that portion of the racing program was former WWF wrestler and NFL player Bill Goldberg taking the big win.

Goldberg took on Roadkill host Mike Finnegan, taking the narrow win after putting the power to the ground more efficiently through the middle of the track.

You can watch that run below. Goldberg’s charity for the event was Ahero , which connects veterans with patriotic members of local communities by organizing outdoor events and social activities. With Goldberg’s big win, Ahero will receive $10,000.

Pritchett and Hagan Show Off

Finally, in addition to all of the attractions away from the track like the Demon drag race simulators, the Dodge Hellcat thrill rides, the bouncey houses, the food trucks, the free Dodge swag and the huge Show N Shine area, Roadkill 2018 featured NHRA championship contenders and Mopar factory racers Leah Pritchett and Matt Hagan. Each of the well-known drag racers puller their 11,000+ horsepower race cars to the starting line on Woodward Ave to do a gigantic burnout on the public road.

For the second year in a row, Pritchett was able to do the longer burnout, reaching the end of the 8 th mile track cleanly with the tires smoking while Hagan had to lift when his car wandered across the center line and killed a bunch of cones. You can watch each of their burnouts below.

Roadkill 2018 was still impacted by Mother Nature, but in every other way, the event went off without a hitch as the organizers from Roadkill, Dodge and the M1 Concourse have just about perfected the art of holding a massive automotive festival with legal street racing.