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‘Roadkill Nights Powered by Dodge’ to return in 2016

Michael Wayland
The Detroit News

Less than 24 hours after more than 10,000 people attended the first-ever “Roadkill Nights Powered by Dodge,” the auto brand on Thursday announced the event will return in 2016.

Dodge and SRT President and CEO Tim Kuniskis said the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles brand doesn’t know when or where the event will take place but is promising “it will be even bigger and better.”

“The ‘Roadkill Nights powered by Dodge’ came together very organically and in a very short amount of time,” Kuniskis said in a statement on Thursday. He added the event was only supposed to be “one-time only,” but after the turnout and “hundreds of requests to do it again,” Dodge and “Roadkill” decided to bring it back next year.

Seven thousand people preregistered for this year’s event that took place Wednesday in the parking lot surrounding the vacated Pontiac Silverdome. Organizers expected as many as 10,000 people for the event, which included hundreds of classic and custom cars; thrill rides with professional drivers in Dodge Viper SRT and Dodge Charger and Challenger SRT Hellcat models; and hours of drag races.

Consumers started competitively racing on the custom-built 1/8-mile track on a first-come, first-race basis. A competition also took place that awarded the fastest Dodge vehicle owner a 707-horsepower Hellcat engine with transmission and wiring harness.

Sterling Heights resident Brandon Phillips won the engine with his 1969 Dodge Challenger Super Bee 446 Pack. He beat a 2001 Dodge Ram 2500 Cummins diesel. It was the first time an engine for the highly-popular Hellcat vehicles has been given away to the public.

The feature race of the night pitted Richard Rawlings’ Gas Monkey Garage custom 1967 Dodge Dart powered by a Dodge SRT Hellcat powertrain against Roadkill’s “General Mayhem” 1968 Dodge Charger, also upfitted with a Hellcat powertrain. Gas Monkey’s Dart took the title and earned ultimate bragging rights with the fastest 1/8-mile time of 5.81 seconds.

Kuniskis on Wednesday night said Dodge officials were extremely happy with how “Roadkill Nights Powered by Dodge” was going, but wouldn’t confirm that they were planning to bring it back next year.

“This really is a gigantic version of what we did at Woodward (Dream Cruise last year),” he said. “Could you bottle up this formula and re-create it? Yeah, you absolutely could.”

The event is the opening night celebration for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and the 2015 Woodward Dream Cruise, which occurs Saturday. More events are planned through Saturday.

mwayland@detroitnews.com

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