Roadkill Nights: Dragsters light up Woodward for a day of thrills

Posted by Talbot Payne on August 13, 2022

Pontiac – That wasn’t an earthquake you felt this morning. It was dragsters on Woodward.

Motor Trend presents Roadkill Nights powered by Dodge kicked off at 11 a.m. with every Detroit motorhead’s dream: legal drag racing on public roads. Thousands of spectators flocked to watch 1,000-horsepower monsters dash down Detroit’s most storied street on a makeshift, 1/8-mile drag strip at the corner of Woodward and South Boulevard north of St. John’s hospital.

Shawn Fink's bright orange beast sports a 526-cubic-inch, hemi-head Chevy engine under the hood.

Shawn Fink, all the way from Casper, Wyoming, in his bright orange 1955 Chevy Bel-Air drag racer staged as one of the first down the strip. The beast sports a 526-cubic-inch, hemi-head Chevy engine under the hood. He recently won Sick Week in Florida, a tour of multiple Sunshine State dragways.

“We’re on the road a lot,” said Fink, flanked by his son who helps him crew. “You have to travel to a lot race tracks in street racing.”

Shawn FInk

The events really kick into high gear late Saturday afternoon when the Dodge Direct Connection Grudge Races are held. A diverse group of seven hot rods – including a Dodge Viper, Dodge station wagon, and a police car – are entered, all bearing common supercharged, 6.2-liter Dodge crate V-8s and manual six-speed transmissions.

Entered by mod shops from Tavarish to Demonology to Corruptt Builds, they will be seeking to dethrone last year’s Grudge champ, Alex Taylor in a rusted 1955 Plymouth Savoy sleeper-mobile.

Taylor and her Hot Rod Garage team built the 1,000-horsepower dragster in just 27 days using a tube frame and the original Savoy top hat. Only the front bumper is not an original part. Well, that and the beastly drivetrain underneath which benefits from a 10% supercharger overdrive and nitrous oxide fuel to produce 1,000 horsepower.

Taylor’s keys to victory?

“Traction, weight, horsepower, and my drag racing experience,” said the 25-year old pro drag racer who pilots a ’68 Camaro in the Unlimited class for her day job. Taylor has been racing since she was a 15-year old in Arkansas.

When the fans aren’t enjoying Woodward drag races, they are pouring into the adjacent M1 Concourse for thrill rides around Champion Motor Speedway in 700-horsepower Dodge Hellcats.



M1 Concourse, 164 South Blvd. West, Pontiac


Saturday 10 a.m.-9 p.m.


10 a.m. — Gates open to the public, event begins

Photo opportunities as muscle/vintage/classic cars enter M1 Concourse

Roadkill Nights Powered by Dodge event activities begin — Dodge Challenger and Charger SRT Hellcat thrill and drift rides, dyno testing, and Ram TRX Thrill Ride Experience off-road course

11 a.m. — Drag racing begins with open qualifying session (all drag racing can be viewed via livestream at,,Dodge and MotorTrend YouTube channels)

4:45 p.m. — Dodge Direct Connection Grudge Races begin

5:45 p.m. — Top Eight shootout driver announcements

6:15 p.m. — Opening ceremony

6:30 p.m. — Top Eight shootouts begin (Small Tire & Big Tire)

8:30 p.m. — Top Eight winners’ awards ceremony

9 p.m. — Event concludes

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

Comments are closed.