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Pontiac — Dragsters, muscle cars, and rib-rattling speed take over Woodward Avenue Saturday as “Roadkill Nights powered by Dodge” drag racing kicks off Dream Cruise week.

Woodward will be closed off and turned into a legal, 1/8-mile drag strip next to M1 Concourse Car Club in Pontiac. This marks the third annual Roadkill spectacle, and the second year that the event has been scheduled a week before the official Dream Cruise, Saturday, Aug. 18.

The event, sponsored by Dodge and Motor Trend, is a car fan's delight as some of the best drag racers — joined by a couple of notable celebrity professionals — burn so much rubber that Woodward turns a sticky black by the end of the day.  

The event hearkens back to Detroit legend when motorheads tried to stay one step ahead of the law by using Woodward stoplights as dragster “Christmas trees” to show off their latest hot rods. Thanks to Roadkill, they can now do it legally in front of stands packed with speed-addled fans.

Entrants will be vying for a $40,000 purse — Roadkill’s largest yet — as they race for glory in two classes, Big Tire and Small Tire. The pot also includes $10,000 awarded to the winner’s charity of choice. Last year, Gary Box of Cleveland was the only racer to break the six-second mark down the 660-foot strip in his ferocious, 1,300-horse Corvette Stingray.

Celebrity showdown races will be hosted by David Freiburger and Mike Finnegan, co-hosts of Motor Trend's YouTube hit series "Roadkill."

Roadkill Nights will mark the Detroit debut of the insane, nitro-burning, 10,000-horsepower (that's not a misprint) Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car dragster as pro driver Matt Hagan will do a demonstration run on Woodward. He’ll be joined by NHRA Top Fuel superstar Leah Pritchett in her Dodge/Mopar slingshot dragster.

Pritchett hit 322 mph in winning her first race of the National Hot Rod Association season earlier this year at Atlanta Raceway's 1/5-mile strip.

Roadkill Nights attracted more than 40,000 fans last year. When they aren’t protecting their eardrums as hot rods rocket down Woodward, attendees can get thrill rides drifting around M1’s race course.

Dodge offers up 707-horsepower Challenger SRT Hellcats and Charger sedans piloted by pro drivers that put on a roller-coaster ride of burning rubber and corner drifts. Lines can extend to over an hour to ride, so get there early.

Other fan favorites include show 'n' shine, dyno testing, a kids zone, flamethrower and wheel-stander exhibitions, "Roadkill" stunts and more. Dodge also will have Challenger SRT Demon simulators so fans can virtually experience 840 horsepower in the world's fastest production car through the 1/4-mile.

Speed addicts also can participate in the "Drag Strip Showdown," a head-to-head simulator contest.

Food trucks will be on hand to satiate appetites and thirsts. Those who can't make it out to Woodward can still have a front-row seat by tuning via livestream on

Henry Payne is auto critic for The Detroit News. Find him at or Twitter @HenryEPayne. 

WHAT: Roadkill Nights Powered by Dodge

WHERE: M1 Concourse Car Club, 164 South Blvd. West, Pontiac, MI 48341

WHEN: Saturday, Aug. 11 

10 AM: Gates open

- Muscle, vintage and classic cars enter the event to set up for the show ‘n’ shine

- Dodge thrill rides and drift rides on the M1 track and skid pad

- Dodge Challenger SRT Demon race simulator competition

- Family-friendly activities

11 AM: Drag racing begins (also available via livestream at

10 PM: Event concludes


$10 per person; $5 per person for Pontiac residents (at event only). Children 12 and under are free.


Spectator parking is available at the United Shore lot – enter from 561 Martin Luther King Boulevard South, Pontiac 48341. There also will be spectator parking available at 2001 Centerpoint Parkway Pontiac 48341. Shuttle buses will be available at both lots and they will run from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. (drop-off/pickup by the main spectator entrance). Parking in these two locations is FREE and available on a first come, first served basis. Handicap parking is on South Boulevard, next to the main spectator entrance. Additional handicap parking is available at the United Shore lot. An ADA shuttle bus will run to and from the United Shore lot and will drop you off at the main entrance of the venue at M1 Concourse.

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