Roadkill Nights brings drag racing to Woodward Ave.

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After a full day of drag racing down Woodward Avenue four cars have qualified for the finals and a shot at $10,000.

roadkill-nights-brings-drag-racing-to-woodward-ave photo 1Buy Photo Driver Mike Finnegan warms up the tires on his 1955 Chevy Gasser named Blasphemi before he races at "Roadkill Nights Powered by Dodge" at the M1 Concourse in Pontiac on Aug. 12, 2017. The Legal Drag Racing strip is on a section of Woodward Avenue that is closed off for the event.  Robin Buckson, The Detroit Newsroadkill-nights-brings-drag-racing-to-woodward-ave photo 2Buy Photo Drag racers warm up their tires before making their run at "Roadkill Nights Powered by Dodge" at the M1 Concourse in Pontiac on Aug. 12, 2017. The Legal Drag Racing strip is on a section of Woodward Avenue that is closed off for the event.  Robin Buckson, The Detroit Newsroadkill-nights-brings-drag-racing-to-woodward-ave photo 3Buy Photo A Dodge Ram truck takes a trip down the drag strip at "Roadkill Nights Powered by Dodge" at the M1 Concourse in Pontiac.  Robin Buckson, The Detroit Newsroadkill-nights-brings-drag-racing-to-woodward-ave photo 4Buy Photo Joe Coffey, right, of Boston and Tyler Bryan of Los Angeles strike a pose for a photo during the Vipers parade at "Roadkill Nights Powered by Dodge" at the M1 Concourse in Pontiac on Aug. 12, 2017. The two men portray the Dodge brothers, Horace and John, in the television ads.  Robin Buckson, The Detroit Newsroadkill-nights-brings-drag-racing-to-woodward-ave photo 5Buy Photo Drag race participants line up on Woodward at "Roadkill Nights Powered by Dodge" at the M1 Concourse. The Legal Drag Racing strip is on a southbound section of Woodward Avenue that is closed off for the event.  Robin Buckson, The Detroit Newsroadkill-nights-brings-drag-racing-to-woodward-ave photo 6Buy Photo A classic Chrysler races down the strip on southbound Woodward Avenue at "Roadkill Nights Powered by Dodge" at the M1 Concourse.  Robin Buckson, The Detroit Newsroadkill-nights-brings-drag-racing-to-woodward-ave photo 7Buy Photo Kurt Johnson, right, of Total Venue Concepts tosses pieces of rubber that he pulled from the track.  Robin Buckson, The Detroit Newsroadkill-nights-brings-drag-racing-to-woodward-ave photo 8Buy Photo From right, Jacob Korthals, Jim Waldorf and his son, Spencer Waldorf, 21, all of Rochester Hills enjoy barbeque while they watch the Vipers parade.  Robin Buckson, The Detroit Newsroadkill-nights-brings-drag-racing-to-woodward-ave photo 9Buy Photo An Oldsmobile Vista Cruiser lines up to race at "Roadkill Nights Powered by Dodge" at the M1 Concourse.  Robin Buckson, The Detroit Newsroadkill-nights-brings-drag-racing-to-woodward-ave photo 10Buy Photo Crew member Brent Baker closes the door on a 1973 Javelin owned by Bryant Goldstone at "Roadkill Nights Powered by Dodge."  Robin Buckson, The Detroit Newsroadkill-nights-brings-drag-racing-to-woodward-ave photo 11Buy Photo The Dodge Demon at "Roadkill Nights Powered by Dodge" at the M1 Concourse.  Robin Buckson, The Detroit Newsroadkill-nights-brings-drag-racing-to-woodward-ave photo 12Buy Photo At left, Jim Wylin of Waterford poses for a photo with Joe Coffey, right, of Boston and Tyler Bryan of Los Angeles strike a pose for a photo during the Vipers parade at "Roadkill Nights Powered by Dodge" at the M1 Concourse in Pontiac. The Coffey and Bryan portray the Dodge brothers, Horace and John, in the television ads.  Robin Buckson, The Detroit Newsroadkill-nights-brings-drag-racing-to-woodward-ave photo 13Buy Photo A Riviera speeds down the drag strip at "Roadkill Nights Powered by Dodge" at the M1 Concourse. The Legal Drag Racing strip is on a section of Woodward Avenue that is closed off for the event.  Robin Buckson, The Detroit Newsroadkill-nights-brings-drag-racing-to-woodward-ave photo 14Buy Photo A classic Chevrolet speeds down the drag strip at "Roadkill Nights Powered by Dodge" at the M1 Concourse.  Robin Buckson, The Detroit Newsroadkill-nights-brings-drag-racing-to-woodward-ave photo 15Buy Photo This turbo charged station wagon gets ready to run at "Roadkill Nights Powered by Dodge."  Robin Buckson, The Detroit Newsroadkill-nights-brings-drag-racing-to-woodward-ave photo 16Buy Photo Joe Coffey, left, of Boston and Tyler Bryan of Los Angeles, right, pose for a photo with Jorge Padilla of Pontiac during the Vipers parade.  Robin Buckson, The Detroit Newsroadkill-nights-brings-drag-racing-to-woodward-ave photo 17Buy Photo Cars race down Woodward Avenue at "Roadkill Nights Powered by Dodge" at the M1 Concourse.  Robin Buckson, The Detroit Newsroadkill-nights-brings-drag-racing-to-woodward-ave photo 18Buy Photo Drag racers warm up their tires before making their run at "Roadkill Nights Powered by Dodge."  Robin Buckson, The Detroit Newsroadkill-nights-brings-drag-racing-to-woodward-ave photo 19Buy Photo People wait in line for Dodge thrill rides at "Roadkill Nights Powered by Dodge" at the M1 Concourse.  Robin Buckson, The Detroit Newsroadkill-nights-brings-drag-racing-to-woodward-ave photo 20Buy Photo 200 Vipers parade through the concourse in the afternoon.  Robin Buckson, The Detroit Newsroadkill-nights-brings-drag-racing-to-woodward-ave photo 21Buy Photo Aresco Car Lifts employee Sergio Garcia of Novi talks with Paul Gray, in green shirt, of Oakland Township at "Roadkill Nights Powered by Dodge" at the M1 Concourse.  Robin Buckson, The Detroit Newsroadkill-nights-brings-drag-racing-to-woodward-ave photo 22Buy Photo Matt Jorden of Cincinatti gets out of a Dodge Demon Drag Challenge simulator.  Robin Buckson, The Detroit Newsroadkill-nights-brings-drag-racing-to-woodward-ave photo 23Buy Photo Cars and trucks of various styles and models are on display at the M1 Concourse.  Robin Buckson, The Detroit Newsroadkill-nights-brings-drag-racing-to-woodward-ave photo 24Buy Photo This driver vents something from the engine while waiting to race.  Robin Buckson, The Detroit Newsroadkill-nights-brings-drag-racing-to-woodward-ave photo 25Buy Photo People wander through the cars on display at the M1 Concourse.  Robin Buckson, The Detroit Newsroadkill-nights-brings-drag-racing-to-woodward-ave photo 26Buy Photo Driver Mike Finnegan walks around his car before he races.  Robin Buckson, The Detroit News

Pontiac – And then there were four.

After a full day of drag racing down Woodward – yes, Woodward Avenue – next to M1 Concourse here, four cars have qualified for the finals and a shot at $10,000. Roadkill Nights Powered by Dodge opens Dream Cruise week and, in keeping with the democratic spirit of the Cruise, the race cars are all street legal and piloted by amateur enthusiasts.

The fastest driver today – in the only car under 6 seconds on the 1/8 mile strip of public road – is Gary Box of Cleveland, Ohio in his outrageous, black, 1960s-vintage Corvette Stingray. Not so fortunate is Tom Joycey of Waterford Hills, Michigan, whose very quick 1977 Camaro Z28 blew a skinny, front “roller” tire and won’t be sticking around for the Final Four.

roadkill-nights-brings-drag-racing-to-woodward-ave photo 27Buy Photo

The fastest qualifier is Gary Box's 1300-hp Corvette Stingray which turned a 5.7 sec 1/8 mile (Photo: Henry Payne / The Detroit News)

Box exploded down the southbound lanes of Woodward in a stupefying 5.7 seconds, drawing gasps from the drag racer faithful who were stunned that any car could break 6 seconds on a public road.

“This is cool as hell, man,” said Box at the starting line, Woodward’s surface jet black from a day of serious horsepower and serious burnouts. “This surface really sucks – there are a lot of stones in this asphalt. But this is real street racing.”

Box should know – he got his stripes street racing in Cleveland. He built his monster ‘Vette – he estimates the 522-cubic inch Chevy puts out 1,300 horsepower – in 1999 and has put 40,000 miles on the odometer driving it around Cleveland. The side pipes put out a deafening 99 decibels, but – like everything else here – the car is street legal.

Box’s son Corey races with him and is building his own car. He’s happy to give dad the glory this weekend. “He’s been racing that car for 18 years and he deserves it,” smiles the son. He also credits NHRA Top Fuel champion John Force. “He signed the glovebox – I think that’s our secret.”

roadkill-nights-brings-drag-racing-to-woodward-ave photo 28Buy Photo

Tom Joycey and his 1500-hp, 1977 Camaro Z28 (Photo: Henry Payne / The Detroit News)

Camaro driver Joycey has been a Top Ten drag racer in the National Muscle Car Association for years. Like Box, this is his first year at Roadkill and that’s by design. In its inaugural year, organizers took entrants on a first come, first serve basis. This year, to encourage better racing – and to guarantee competitors know what they were doing at 150 mph between two concrete walls – drivers had to apply for entry.

“I filled out an application and they accepted me,” says Joycey whose Camaro puts out 1,500 ponies and needs rear wheelie bars to keep the thing on the ground when he launches off the line. He will come back next year if approved.

“This is just crazy – it’s hard to believe they can pull this off,” he said before heading home, nursing his shredded front tire. “There are more people in these grandstands than there are at a track drag race.”

Joycey pointed to his 10.5-inch, DOT-approved, street legal tires (with all of three grooves) on the back of his Camaro. “I run slicks at Milan (drag strip),” he smiles.

Box didn’t realize there is another week of cruising after Roadkill nights. “I would have stayed for the week and done some cruising in my car,” he says. But tonight he’s focused on the prize.

“I think I can do a 5.2 second run,” says the tall, gray-haired Ohioan. “I want that $10 grand.”

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Article Roadkill Nights brings drag racing to Woodward Ave. compiled by www.detroitnews.com