A few weeks back, Dodge hosted Roadkill Nights for the seventh time, with this year marking the sixth time that the event has included legal street racing on Detroit’s Woodward Avenue. Thanks to the continued development of the M1 Concourse road racing facility, Dodge’s continued effort to add new aspects to the event and a cool breezy day, this seventh edition of Roadkill Nights by Dodge was the best – and we have been to all seven.
The Main attraction of every Roadkill Nights by Dodge has been the drag racing program. It first started in the parking lot of the old Pontiac Silverdome and now on Woodward Avenue. The local authorities literally close off the section of Woodward Avenue that runs across the front of the M1 Concourse.
The Roadkill Nights crew sets up an 8th mile drag strip, complete with a burnout box and a basic timing system, although the cars race on an arm drop start rather than a green light. There was a threat of rain throughout most of the day but, it didn’t rain and left us with cooler, more comfortable temperatures and great racing. Many past Roadkill events have been hampered by rain, so it was great to see this year go off without any weather delays.
The 2022 Roadkill Nights racing field had more than a hundred cars battling for the title of the top big tire and top small tire, as well as the quickest Dodge racer in each field. All racers get a handful of time trial runs and from those times – which are not announced openly, just used for placement of the quickest cars in each class – the top 8 in each class go head to head to get a class winner.
For the 2022 Roadkill Nights by Dodge, the winner in Big Tire was the gorgeous 1956 Chevy of Joe Barry. He is one of the top Drag Week competitors. The Small Tire class was won by Mikael Borggren in his 1987 Volvo 240 Wagon, who is also a Drag Week competitor.
The runner-up in Big Tire was Lenny Melton, who was also the quickest Dodge in the class and in the field as a whole. This is not the first time that Melton and his 1968 Dart have been the quickest Dodge, having taken home that title back in 2017 as well.
The quickest Dodge in the Small Tire class was Peter Bokedon, who won the title several time in past years (2018, 2019, 2021) with his 1972 Dart. There was no Roadkill Nights in 2020, so Bokedon has won quickest Small Tire Dodge four-straight years now. Both Melton and Bokedon took home $5,000 for the win.
The celebrity grudge match program saw Alex Taylor take home the title for the second year in a row. This time she drove a gorgeous 1955 Plymouth Savoy with Hellcat Redeye power. She took on Westen Champlin in the final round to take the win, who was driving a 2016 Challenger with Redeye power.
This year’s celebrity program as a whole was a lot better than last year. This year, the teams had to use a Hellcat Redeye crate engine and a 6-speed manual transmission, leading to some very cool builds. In addition to the ‘55 Savoy, there was also a 1962 Lancer, a first generation Viper, a Magnum wagon and a Dodge Charger that had been converted to a two-door pickup.
While the drag racing program is the main attraction and the centerpiece of Roadkill Nights by Dodge, the Cruise-In area within the M1 Concourse offers attendees a chance to check out some gorgeous rides. This isn’t a show field, as there are no judges or classes; it is really just VIP parking for the nicest non-race vehicles on the grounds.
The Cruise-In area is free to the first group of Dodge owners, so because of that, the field is Dodge-heavy. but there are other makes and models. Jeep and Ram are well represented in the modern era, while some Plymouth models represent the classic muscle car crowd.
There are also some Fords, Chevys and import models, but for the most part, the field is dominated by modern Dodge muscle cars with a nice mix of classics.
Finally, Roadkill Nights has the massive Dodge brand presence that you would expect from a title sponsor. There are large tents selling branded apparel, stations where you could get free Dodge swag for signing up for a credit card, free airbrush tattoos and, of course, the Dodge Thrill Rides.
The Thrill Rides have been massively popular since being introduced when the event moved to the M1 Concourse and each year, the program has evolved a bit. In the early years, it was drifting on the portion of the road course furthest from Woodward Ave, but as time went on, Dodge added the skid pad area for the Thrill Rides.
This year, the Thrill Ride area expanded to include an off-road area featuring the Ram 1500 TRX – the Hellcat-powered pickup. In addition to going very fast on dirt in a half-ton truck, the TRX Thrill Ride included a few big jumps, bringing a whole new level of excitement to Roadkill Nights ride-along program.
When you add in the continued development of the M1 Concourse facility, with more pavement, less dirt and dust and more structures, the 2022 edition of Roadkill Nights looked very different from the early years at M1. As Tim Kuniskis and the Dodge team continue to make the event more interesting from year to year, we look forward to what next year will look like.