Over the past few weeks, we have brought you a look at the various details of 2023 Roadkill Nights Powered by Dodge, from the new venue and the possible location to the six teams competing in the annual Grudge Match program and yesterday’s announcement of registration opening. One more key bit of unexpected information came in yesterday’s press release pertaining to the August 12th automotive festival, and this one will surely put a smile on the face of pretty much everyone in attendance.
The competitors in the 202 Roadkill Nights Powered by Dodge Grudge Match field will be building their race cars around the Redeye Hellcrate – which most of you know is the supercharged 6.2-liter Hemi from the Challenger and Charger SRT Hellcat Redye and Super Stock models (along with the limited edition King Daytona and Black Ghost models). That engine delivers either 797 or 807 horsepower depending on the specific package chosen, but the teams will be able to draw even more power from those engines thanks to the available Direct Connection upgrades. As a reminder, the Direct Connection Stage 2 kit lifts the output to 885 horsepower and 787 lb-ft of torque, so with adding tuning, we can expect some thousand horsepower monsters in the Grudge Match.
“The 2023 Grudge Race will feature a new twist, with pairs of competitors working together to create a Dodge or Plymouth drag machine using Direct Connection performance parts, including the Hellcrate Redeye 6.2L Supercharged Crate HEMI® engine and a plug-and-play Hellcrate Redeye 6.2L Supercharged Crate HEMI Engine Control Unit (ECU). While 2023 marks the “Last Call” for the Dodge Challenger and Dodge Charger in their current HEMI-engine-powered forms, Direct Connection will continue to offer HEMI-powered crate engines.”
A key change from last year’s Grudge Match rules – other than the new mentor-and-rookie program – is the transmission choice. Last year, competitors were required to use a 6-speed manual transmission, but this year, they can use an automatic or manual. That will make the racing on Woodward Avenue a whole lot easier for the rookies, but putting more than 800 horsepower to the ground will still be no easy task for these teams – especially with several of the rookie drivers have no drag racing experience.
Now some of you might recall that during Dodge Speed Week last year, it was announced that the Roadkill Nights Grudge Match teams would be using the new Direct Connection Hurricane inline-six. We have already received some messages via social media about the engine change, so we reached out to Dodge for the official word on the switch from the twin turbo I6 to the supercharged V8.
“Given the compressed build time, the Direct Connection Hellcrate engine is a perfect fit for this competition, and showcasing it serves as a fitting tribute to the 2023 “Last Call” celebration of the Dodge Challenger and Dodge Charger in their current HEMI®-engine-powered forms. Plans changed to recognize that 2023 should be a celebration of all things HEMI,” said a Dodge brand representative.
Frankly, while we were interested to see what the teams could do with the new I6 engine architecture, we will not be disappointed to experience one more year of supercharged Hemi goodness – and we suspect that most of the people who come out to Pontiac on August 12th for 202 Roadkill Nights Powered by Dodge will feel the same way.