Roadkill Nights 2022 Event Coverage from M1 Concourse on Woodward
On Saturday, August 13th high octane fumes and massive clouds of burnt rubber rose above the forever-famous Woodward Ave., in Pontiac Michigan at Roadkill Nights 2022. Speedway Motors was in attendance, along with thousands of other energetic gear heads. Pack-on some of the biggest celebrities in the business, seriously competitive drivers, all backed by Dodge, and you have yourself one hell of an event.
If modern drag racing met with the Oscars, Roadkill Nights would undoubtedly set the stage. The stars of the show – today’s top automotive influencers battling head-to-head for the quickest time down Woodward Ave., except no one goes to jail. Thousands of fans flock to the stands to watch a Top 8 showdown between big and small tire classes, and the most popular, Influencer’s Grudge Match.
The day-long event was born 8-years ago thanks to Motortrend’s own, David Freiburger and Mike Finnegan. It returns to the Motor City’s own historic Woodward Ave. yearly, just outside the m1 Concourse and you won’t find a Christmas Tree here. It’s just good old fashion 1/8th mile street racing. Track announcements are hosted by Journalist, Steve Magnante and KJ Jones with a live broadcast streaming on Motortrend’s YouTube channel.
There’s a rock n’ roll kind of vibe mixed in with the constant screams of drifting Hellcats courtesy of Dodge’s spectator thrill rides. From sunup to sundown, literally, fans young and old have the option to hop in one of Dodge’s specialty-equipped drift cars and take a ride through the m1 course.
By mid-morning, time trials began for big and small tire cars with test and tune laps running into the afternoon. It’s not uncommon to find Pro-Street Hot Rod Drag Week names like Shawn Fink or Tom Bailey lining Woodward Ave. The small-tire class also brought some serious competition.
All makes are certainly appreciated on Woodward Ave. From gasser-style Chevy’s, old-school Detroit muscle, to LS powered fox bodies – enough flavors for everyone. Turbo LS swaps were a common denominator to qualifying times.
Modern Mopar muscle is obviously essential at Roadkill Nights. And now, with so many iterations of the Challenger, they have become extremely popular and seriously collectible – like the Challenger Demon. 800hp at 25 miles per gallon is certainly a staple for our time.
Tom Bailey prepping the tires on his Pro-Street 69 Camaro for the first time Saturday morning. In 2019, Bailey set a record at Hot Rod Drag Week for the first street-driven car to run under a six-second quarter mile.
This year, like the previous edition, top Influencers were challenged to a build-off grudge match. Except for this year’s twist: build a street-legal drag car around an 800hp 6.2L supercharged Hellcat Redeye engine in under a month. Each driver was given the same powerplant, a Tremec TR6060 6-speed transmission, $10K in cash, and a factory ECU through the Dodge Direct Connect program and they were off to the races.
By mid-afternoon, small and big tire qualifying finished and the influencer showdown kicked off. A selection of eight seriously talented teams battled head-to-head for the 2022 trophy. After a bracket of eight drivers competed, Westen Champlin took the overall Top 8 win. The final Grudge Match was a battle between Westen Champlin and Alex Taylor. Alex proved victorious.
Not enough can be said about the ultimate success Alex Taylor brings to the table. Her long-standing career piloting six-second street-driven drag cars has put her in the #1 spot year after year. Her tube-chassis 1955 Savoy build for this year, finished in just 28-days, won her both 2021 & 2022 Roadkill Nights events. On top of that, her ’55 Savoy build will be debuting on Motortrend’s Hot Rod garage this coming September.
The Gods of Speed showed up – which includes the two above. Left, prolific builder/driver/drag sportsmen, Dennis Taylor talking shop next to Motortrend personality, Steve Dulcich. Dulcich, an industry hero, is dedicated to the grassroots experience by advocating the spirit of revival and enjoying your vintage automobile.
Woodward’s remembered as America’s first paved mile-long road and stands as one of the most historic sanctioned and non-sanctioned street racing sites in the nation. Now in its seventh event year, Roadkill Nights promotes a growing fan base and a new generation of enthusiasts. Throw in a laundry list of extremely talented builders, drag racers, along with a home-grown live production feed and you can’t go wrong.
Grudge Match Reigning Champion Alex Taylor: 1955 Plymouth Savoy
Grudge Match Top 8 Race Winner Weston Champlin: 2016 Challenger Hellcat
Big Tire Top 8 Shootout Joe Barry: 1956 Chevy 210
Small Tire Top 8 Shootout Mikael Borggren: 1987 Volvo