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Drag racing coming to Woodward for Dream Cruise

Michael Wayland
The Detroit News

Car enthusiasts will legally be able to burn rubber and drag race on a portion of Woodward Avenue on the eve of the Dream Cruise in August.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV on Wednesday confirmed “Roadkill Nights Powered by Dodge” will shut down a section of Woodward in front of the newly developed M1 Concourse in Pontiac on Aug. 19 for amateur flashlight drag racing.

“We’re going to race all day,” said Tim Kuniskis, Fiat Chrysler head of passenger car brands for North America, during a media event Thursday. “This is an all-day, all-night muscle car carnival.”

Thrill rides with professional drivers in Dodge Viper SRT and Dodge Charger and Challenger SRT Hellcat models will take place inside the M1 Concourse, a motorsports facility with car condos and a 11/2-mile road course. Other attractions include a Show ’n’ Shine area, live music, fireworks, food trucks and stunts/exhibitions from YouTube auto show “Roadkill.”

“There’s something for everybody at this event,” he said, adding two special-edition Dodge vehicles also will make their public debuts at the event. “It’s going to be absolutely amazing.”

One of the main draws for last year’s event included the public being allowed to competitively drag race on a custom-built 1/8-mile strip, followed by a drag-racing competition that awarded the owner of the fastest vehicle a 707-horsepower Hellcat engine with transmission and wiring harness.

A cash giveaway of $19,000 for the fastest owner of a Dodge vehicle will replace the engine as the grand prize for this year’s event.

Sterling Heights resident Brandon Phillips won the engine last year 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 popular Hellcat vehicles has been given away to the public.

“Roadkill” co-hosts David Freiburger and Mike Finnegan will lead the races.

Drag racing registration is $50 and is open at

General admission to the event and is free for spectators. Participants also can register a vehicle for Show ’n’ Shine at the site.

The inaugural pop-up car festival and drag racing event last year attracted more than 10,000 people attended the free event in the parking lot of the Pontiac Silverdome.

Following the success of the inaugural event, TEN: The Enthusiast Network’s Roadkill Nights Powered by Dodge was expanded to two cities in 2016. The first stop, June 18 at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City, Kansas, drew nearly 12,000 spectators.

Other Fiat Chrysler brands will continue to have a significant presence Saturday during the Woodward Dream at Woodward and 13 Mile, but Dodge will primarily be at M1 Concourse.

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