Dodge Roadkill Nights 2018: More Fast Cars, More Money & More Rain

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Roadkill Starting Line

Dodge Forum attended the most successful Roadkill Nights event to date, even though rain ended the racing program early.

On Saturday, August 11, the fourth annual “Roadkill Nights Powered by Dodge” event was held in Pontiac, Michigan and there is no question that 2018 was the best year yet.

After last year’s program was frequently interrupted by rain, the nasty weather held off until late in the day. As a result, the money rounds of the racing program were cancelled, but every other aspect of the event went beautifully, making it a great day for spectators, racers and show car drivers. If you are not familiar with the Roadkill Nights events, here is a quick rundown of the annual Detroit event.

Dodge Roadkill Tent

Roadkill Nights Powered by Dodge

The first Roadkill Nights event was held in 2015, where the program was held in the parking lot of the old Pontiac Silverdome, home to the Detroit Lions. In 2016, the event moved to the M1 Concourse road racing facility, but since there is no drag strip, they worked with the local authorities to get permission to close a block of Woodward Avenue off and hold the racing program on the street.

The legal street racing is the main attraction, but there is also a huge Show ‘n Shine area, Dodge Hellcat thrill rides, a large area of bounce houses for kids, rows of food trucks, and countless Dodge themed displays. Of course, the cars of the Roadkill show are on full display, as is all sorts of merchandise from Dodge and Roadkill.

Dodge Merchandise Display

Roadkill Nights events are truly unlike nothing else we have ever seen, but over the course of the first few years at the M1 Concourse, there were some growing pains. There were long waits for racers and show cars to get into the facility on the day of the event, the lines for the thrill ride took as long as four hours, and the racing program was disorganized enough to annoy the racers.

Dodge Charger Race Car

This year, all of those problems were solved. The early check-in and tech inspection process cut down on the wait time to get into the track. Since there weren’t lines of race cars and show cars waiting to get in, there was less traffic for the thousands of spectators. I took my own Hellcat Challenger for the Show N Shine program and once in the grounds, the event staff did a great job of getting everyone parked in a hurry.

Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Drifting

One of the key complaints from spectators in past years was that the Dodge Hellcat thrill rides often had a line that required long wait. But this year the event added a second thrill ride area, with one being a drift ride on a skid pad, and the other on a portion of the M1 road course. There was also an advanced check-in system, so you could sign up for a certain time, cutting the wait time way down.

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"Before I was old enough to walk, my dad was taking me to various types of racing events, from local drag racing to the Daytona 500," says Patrick Rall, a lifetime automotive expert, diehard Dodge fan, and respected auto journalist for over 10 years. "He owned a repair shop and had a variety of performance cars when I was young, but by the time I was 16, he was ready to build me my first drag car – a 1983 Dodge Mirada that ran low 12s. I spent 10 years traveling around the country, racing with my dad by my side. While we live in different areas of the country, my dad still drag races at 80 years old in the car that he built when I was 16 while I race other vehicles, including my 2017 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat and my 1972 Dodge Demon 340.

"Although I went to college for accounting, my time in my dad’s shop growing up allowed me the knowledge to spend time working as a mechanic before getting my accounting degree, at which point I worked in the office of a dealership group. While I was working in the accounting world, I continued racing and taking pictures of cars at the track. Over time, I began showing off those pictures online and that led to my writing.

"Ten years ago, I left the accounting world to become a full-time automotive writer and I am living proof that if you love what you do, you will never “work” a day in your life," adds Rall, who has clocked in time as an auto mechanic, longtime drag racer and now automotive journalist who contributes to nearly a dozen popular auto websites dedicated to fellow enthusiasts.

"I love covering the automotive industry and everything involved with the job. I was fortunate to turn my love of the automotive world into a hobby that led to an exciting career, with my past of working as a mechanic and as an accountant in the automotive world provides me with a unique perspective of the industry.

"My experience drag racing for more than 20 years coupled with a newfound interest in road racing over the past decade allows me to push performance cars to their limit, while my role as a horse stable manager gives me vast experience towing and hauling with all of the newest trucks on the market today.

"Being based on Detroit," says Rall, "I never miss the North American International Auto Show, the Woodward Dream Cruise and Roadkill Nights, along with spending plenty of time raising hell on Detroit's Woodward Avenue with the best muscle car crowd in the world.

Rall can be contacted at [email protected]

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