Enthusiast events like the upcoming Roadkill Nights in suburban Detroit are helping Dodge get back in touch with its muscle car roots, brand boss Tim Kuniskis told Automotive News in a recent interview.
Last year Dodge held the first-ever Roadkill Nights even at the Pontiac Silverdome in Michigan. The last-minute event was met with much fanfare – 10,000 people came out to see Mopar owners and other enthusiasts face off in grudge races in the parking lot of the Silverdome. The hosts of Motor Trend’s smash hit web show Roadkill and Richard Rawlings of Fast ‘N Loud were also on hand to interact with fans.
A similar Roadkill Nights event was also hosted in Kansas in June and was attended by over 12,000 enthusiasts. The second annual Detroit Roadkill nights, and the third ever edition of the event, is scheduled for August 19th, 2016 at the Dodge-sponsored M1 Concourse racetrack in Pontiac, Michigan.
Roadkill Nights was the brainchild of Kuniskis, who himself is a big fan of car enthusiast culture. The executive could have closed the event off to Mopar owners only, but he decided to let anyone participate in the races in order to give the Dodge brand maximum exposure.
“The key to the growth of anything is conquest — you have to grow beyond your own market,” told AN. “So we opened up the event to every brand, to every customer who wanted to come, and we made it free. That was the key — bring everybody in and let them experience Dodge on their own and see what it’s all about.”
This year’s edition of Roadkill Nights Detroit is expected to be even bigger. Last year the races were held in the Silverdome’s parking lot, but this year they’ve received clearance to run the races between the lights on a section of Detroit’s Woodward Avenue. The automaker also gets access to the racetrack at M1 Concourse – a new car enthusiast complex being built in Pontiac.
“Last year was [put together] very fast and we didn’t have enough time to really promote it,” Kuniskis said. “This year, we’ve been through two, so we think we’ve got the model down.”