A week ago, Dodge announced that the 2023 Roadkill Nights event will be held north of the previous location, in a stretch of Woodward Avenue known as “The Loop” on August 12. Details are limited, but we know that the starting line for the legal street racing program which has become the main attraction of Roadkill Nights Powered by Dodge will be at the intersection of Woodward Avenue and West Pike Street. No other information has been shared, but having spent many nights cruising this stretch of Woodward, I am very familiar with the area. After getting many questions on social media about what Roadkill Nights 2023 might look like at this new location, I put together this piece that looks at the area and how the program might be laid out in the available land. I want to stress that this is purely speculation. I have no official information on how the event will be situated – I am guessing based on my familiarity with the area.
I have made a series of crude maps based on Google maps of the area earmarked for the starting line during 2023 Roadkill Nights by Dodge. In red, I have highlighted the stretch of Woodward that will serve as the race track, provided that they are racing with the normal direction of the traffic lanes. All five lanes of Woodward Avenue in this section head south, with the northbound lanes separated by a large portion of downtown Pontiac. In the map above, northbound Woodward is at the far right of the picture, opposite the racing area.
On the east side of Woodward there is a large parking lot, which I have outlined in blue. This lot has been used for car show parking on Dream Cruise day in the past, serving as the location for the Modern Street Hemi Shootout series for several years before they moved further south on Woodward. This lot seems perfect to host many aspects of Roadkill Nights. It is an enormous lot with loads of parking for the Cruise-In area, apparel booths, food trucks and other vehicle displays while leaving space for Dodge Thrill Rides. This lot also provides a ton of frontage along Woodward Ave, so if the event wants to keep all of the spectators on one side of the “track”, they could put grandstands in the large lot, shown as the large yellow box on the right side of the track.
On the other hand, the land on the west side of Woodward Ave (outlined in green) is open land that separates Woodward from the train tracks. That unused land would seemingly be perfect for the grandstands and a spectator area, but there is a possible logistics issue with that approach. With the majority of the Roadkill Nights attractions would likely being held on the east side of the road, the spectators on the west side would have to cross the track to move from side to side. That creates a potential logistics headache, making the grandstands on the east side more likely.
As for the layout of the racing program, according to Google Maps, the distance on Woodward Avenue between West Pike Street and Orchard Lake Road is right around an 8th of a mile. Woodward is five lanes wide along this stretch, so there could be two lanes for racing, a lane of safety barriers and two lanes for the return road area. Based on where they place the grandstands, the racing could be pushed to one side of Woodward, with the racers coming back up the same side, or they could put the racing lanes in the middle and have return roads on both sides of the track. The potential starting line for the temporary drag strip is marked with the double red line.
The short stretch of West Pike Street on the west side of Woodward before the train tracks, coupled with the longer stretch of West Pike on the east side of Woodward, would provide plenty of room for the race cars to park between runs. Of course, they could do what they have done in past years and have the race cars parked along the track on Woodward and staged north of the starting line on Woodward. That would free up more space for the Roadkill Night attractions, but having the race cars parked along West Pike would put them on better display to the spectators. Those cars could drive towards Woodward, turn right to head north and then turn around, to face south for staging.
As for the surface itself, this stretch of Woodward would be better for drag racing, which is one of the reasons that it is a popular area for late night street racing. As you can see in the map, there are no openings from either side of the road, so when racing from West Pike towards Orchard Lake, you know that another car isnt going to pull out in front of you. There are also no businesses that face this area of Woodward, so there is seldom any foot traffic to worry about. The surface is nice and smooth – much nicer than the area in front of M1 Concourse – while also being flatter. I fully expect that everyone racing at 2023 Roadkill Nights after racing in past years will find this stretch of Woodward to be the better option in terms of the “track”.