Who would even dream that you could drag race – legally – on Detroit’s famed Woodward Avenue? With the police taking part in the smoky action, no less.
That was the scene when part of the Detroit-area boulevard was shut down for MotorTrend Group’s Roadkill Nights Powered by Dodge, a two-day high-horsepower celebration held as a prelude to the Woodward Dream Cruise.
It was on Woodward Avenue back in the 1960s that engineers from the Detroit automakers honed the original muscle cars in stoplight-to-stoplight drag races.
Nearly 50,000 fans showed up for this, the fifth annual event, when Woodward between Rapid Street and South Boulevard is “transformed into a specially prepped 1/8-mile drag strip for legal street drag racing,” according to a Roadkill news release.
More than 12o street-legal cars competed in two classes – Big Tire and Small Tire – for a cash purse of $30,000.
The Big Tire winner was Lil Jimmer Kline of Michigan, who smoked the competition in a 1966 Pontiac GTO. Small Tire winner was Alen Daniel, also of Michigan, who ran a 1979 Chevrolet Malibu.
The team of Leah Pritchett and David Freiburger won the celebrity showdown challenge, with a $10,000 prize purse donated to United Way. In total, $21,210 was donated to United Way for Southeastern Michigan. Pritchett in her NHRA Top Fuel Dragster and Matt Hagan in his Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Widebody NHRA Funny Car wowed the crowd with exhibition runs.
Oh, and let’s not forget the police pursuit, with Macomb County Sheriff Anthony Wickersham beating Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard in the Sheriff Showdown, described as an “old-school grudge” match, with each sheriff driving 2019 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeyes with respective county decals.
“When we first introduced ‘Roadkill Nights Powered by Dodge’ five years ago as a pop-up car show and drag race, we never imagined it would grow to nearly 50,000 performance enthusiasts over two days,” said Tim Kuniskis, global head of Alfa Romeo and head of passenger cars – Dodge, SRT, Chrysler and FIAT, FCA – North America.
“The positive reaction from our fans and continued growth of this one-of-a-kind event fuels our passion to keep delivering products and marketing for performance enthusiasts.”