Six of America’s best methods to lay rubber at Woodward
The 2019 Roadkill Nights Powered by Dodge celebrated a mishmash of just about every sort of American awesome you can dream. From a 5600-pound Cadillac to Leah Pritchett’s 11,000-hp top fuel dragster, the 2019 Roadkill Nights reveled in all the best ways possible to create smoke, noise, and a lot of horsepower on Woodward Avenue. Pontiac, Michigan’s M1 Concourse witnessed a crowd of 47,000 spectators thronging to thrill rides, simulators, and food trucks—all to the shrieking tune of 120 street-legal racers barrelling down a very special ⅛-mile strip.
Be forewarned that links to the Hagerty Valuation tool do not account for the various turbos, tunes, rollcages, and ’chutes on these fantastic contraptions—let alone the blood, toil, tears, and sweat their builders have poured into each of them. Gaze longingly at both stock and drag creations—and let us know which you’d rather have.
1966 Schroeder-Ens Corvette
Corvettes were a minority in Saturday’s Mopar mash, but Dave Schroeder and John Ens’s C2 ’Vette was right at home among the big-tires on the street-turned-strip of Woodward Avenue. The royal blue number-two car took first place in the Unlimited class of Hot Rod’s 2017 Drag Week, and snagged second in last year’s drag-strip odyssey. A total of 2700 horsepower comes courtesy of 872 cid of big-block V-8 and four stages of nitrous.
1966 replica 427 Cobra
Stop-sign red and stuffed with a 427 V-8, this Cobra dynos at 650 hp—and puts down 3000–4000 miles a year at the hands of owner Bill Gill. “I see a lot of 7 mpg,” he laughs; but at the Cobra’s latest outing at Woodward, Gill says, “Here we burn a half-gallon in an eighth of a mile.” Swapping the original cast-iron heads for the GT40’s aluminum versions shed weight, and the “TNLPORT” plate proudly trumpets this rare ’60s feature of choice Ford performance V-8s.
You probably haven’t seen a Camaro looking quite like this hanging around your local Mickey D’s, but Tom Bailey’s ’69 Camaro is no stranger to the drag strip or the streets. Bailey smoked this Camaro and its twin-turbo 615-cu-in big-block to an overall victory in Hot Rod’s most recent Drag Week, besting fellow Unlimited class competitor Schroeder and his ’Vette.
Bryant Goldstone’s ’73 Javelin finished second overall in this past Drag Week to Tom Bailey’s gold Camaro; though the Javelin was officially entered not in the Camaro’s Unlimited class, but in the Ultimate Iron category, which places greater restrictions on body changes. Goldstone’s creation improves on the original top-shelf Javelin’s 401-cu-in offering with a twin-turbo, 572-cu-in big-block monster.
This 5600-pound beast showcases the lighter side of Roadkill Nights. The 1947 Cadillac features a Frankensteined hand-crafted frame built, says owner Andy Koehler, “to embarrass all the Mustangs.” The bastardized Caddy had a banner day this weekend, running for the first time ever with second gear—though Koehler and his team did reuse the head gaskets. Five times.
Owner Rick Callahan says he’s come to Roadkill Nights for five years, ever since it was at the Silverdome: “That was bad, even with a concrete launching pad.” This year, however, Callahan says Woodward’s prepped course provided “the best traction we’ve ever had.” Starter Jason Ruekert, Midwest Regional Manager of VP Racing Fuels, said the specially treated section of Woodward was “taking rubber like a real drag strip,” and that cars averaged times 0.07–0.12 seconds faster than last year.