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  • Writer's pictureNick Cavanaugh @Car_Sick_Nick

Motor Trend's 2023 Roadkill Nights Draws Record Crowd of More Than 42,000 Spectators

Hosted in a new location – Pontiac City Square in downtown Pontiac – car enthusiasts gathered to witness street-legal drag racing and entertainment



Back for its eighth year, MotorTrend Presents Roadkill Nights Powered by Dodge brought the excitement and energy to its new location in downtown Pontiac at the corner of Woodward Avenue and West Pike Street on Saturday, August 12.


This year's expanded event drew a record-breaking crowd of more than 42,000 drag-racing enthusiasts for the festival of all things automotive. New for 2023, street-festival entertainment with artists, musicians and more gave gearheads an exciting day on and off the track. A special concert from world-renowned musician and actor Ice Cube closed out the day of activities.


Event attendees were also treated to on-site activations by event partners, such as Amazon, Mickey Thompson, Tremec and Aeromotive.


"The eighth edition of MotorTrend presents Roadkill Nights Powered by Dodge featured fresh new event elements, with a unique new downtown Pontiac event location, a new team format that increased the smack talk for the Direct Connection Grudge Race and an amazing performance by a world-famous artist to wrap up the day," said Tim Kuniskis, Dodge brand and Ram brand CEO - Stellantis. "The bar just keeps getting higher and higher for our annual horsepower circus, because we know it's what drives our Brotherhood of Muscle."



The corner of Woodward and West Pike Street went through an overnight transformation to become a legal public-road dragstrip for some of America’s quickest street cars. After watching the professionals race, spectators had the opportunity to feel the excitement of racing with Dodge Hellcat drift rides and hot laps.

Roadkill Nights also raised the bar with this year’s Dodge Direct Connection Grudge Race. Six teams of mentors and rookies – Team Sick-Bastards (Detroit), Team Corruptt (Phoenix), Team Dahminators (Los Angeles), Team Truck Yeah (Kansas City), Team Throtl (San Diego) and Team Soul Snatcher (Dallas) – were connected with a Dodge Power Brokers dealer as they used Direct Connection performance parts as the foundation to build a Dodge or Plymouth drag car. The teams then went head-to-head on the drag strip, ultimately crowning Team Corruptt the winner.


Team Corruptt, which featured veteran Grudge Race competitor Tony Arme mentoring adrenaline-loving rookie Kayla Rundle, dropped a Direct Connection Hellcrate Redeye 6.2L Supercharged Crate HEMI® engine and engine controller unit into their 1969 Plymouth Barracuda vehicle build. In her Roadkill Nights debut, Rundle defeated the 2001 Dodge Viper of Team Throtl member Quin Clark (mentored by Rickie Fernandez) to earn 2023 Grudge Race bragging rights. Two-time event champion Alex Taylor, who competed in the Big Tire class this year, was also on hand to congratulate Rundle on her victory.


“After spending the last few weeks working toward this moment, there was nothing but excitement when I finally got behind the wheel,” said Kayla Rundle about bringing home the crown for Team Corruptt in the Dodge Direct Connection Grudge Match. “I’ve always loved drag racing, and as a female racer, rookie and first-timer at Roadkill Nights, this was truly a dream come true.”


The Big Tire (over 275mm width) and Small Tire (275mm width and under) classes saw competitors battling for bragging rights and cash prizes on the brand-new drag strip at the corner of Woodward Avenue and W. Pike St. in Pontiac. Each class winner earned $5,000, with the fastest Dodge cars in both classes taking home another $5,000 each.


MotorTrend Presents RoadKill Nights Powered by Dodge: Race Results


Big Tire Racing Results

Jimmer Kline, Wyoming, Michigan - 1966 Acadian Chevy

Joe Barry, Colorado Springs, Colorado - 1956 Chevrolet 210


Small Tire Racing Results

Mikael Borggren, Northville, Michigan - 1987 Volvo Wagon

Adam Wright, Fort Wayne, Indiana - 2001 Chevy Camaro


Additional activities included a Dodge Direct Connection Alley area with Dodge Challenger SRT Demon virtual drag race simulators, Direct Connection crate engines, project vehicles and parts displays, Dodge Hellcat drift rides and hot laps, car cruise-in with classic and modern muscle cars, a display of the Dodge Charger Daytona SRT Concept, RC car demonstrations, a Dodge Hornet ride area, music and entertainment.


“For the eighth straight year, we’ve brought car culture to life for gearheads at MotorTrend Presents Roadkill Nights Powered by Dodge, and this year we elevated the experience to unprecedented heights,” says Eric Schwab, MotorTrend Group’s Group SVP, Head of Revenue, Operations, and Partnerships. “With a new location in downtown Pontiac, we expanded and drew a record-breaking attendance of more than 42,000 automotive fans, treating them to a pulse-pounding day of white-knuckle drag racing, adrenaline-infused thrill rides, and a show-stopping musical extravaganza headlined by none other than Ice Cube, delivering on the excitement that Roadkill Nights promises year over year.”


Fans unable to attend MotorTrend Presents Roadkill Nights Powered by Dodge joined the fun by watching the event Livestream, which can still be found on Dodge.com, DodgeGarage.com, Dodge’s YouTube channel, MotorTrend's YouTube channel and MotorTrend's video streaming service as event replays. Two half-hour Roadkill episodes will air on MotorTrend television in late 2023. Fans can also access additional post-event coverage at DodgeGarage.com.


MotorTrend Presents Roadkill Nights Powered by Dodge: By The Numbers


1 million+ online views

42,750 MotorTrend Presents Roadkill Nights Powered by Dodge attendees

120+ drag-racing competitors

⅛-mile, in length, of Woodward Avenue drag strip

Approximately 200 gallons of compound used to prep drag strip surface

4,000 feet of jersey barrier created the track walls

5-6 hours to build the dragstrip

$30,000 in total payouts for drag racers

Street racing can have serious legal and safety risks. Both MotorTrend and Dodge want enthusiasts to enjoy performance driving in a safe, controlled environment, run by professionals with vehicle safety inspections, driver evaluations and track safety.

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