Pontiac - Roadkill Nights drag racing competition was full of thrills Saturday, but it was TV personality Richard Rawlings' spill that will be most remembered.
The Gas Monkey Garage owner and star of Discovery's "Fast N' Loud" reality show peeled a Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat into the Jersey barrier on Woodward here as he battled NHRA Top Fuel superstar Leah Pritchett in a celebrity shootout. Woodward was closed off and turned into a legal, 1/8-mile drag strip next to M1 Concourse Car Club north of St. Joseph Mercy Hospital.
Rawlings, an experienced drag racer, thrilled the packed grandstands on Woodward with a long, tire-burning display out of the box, only to have his 707-horse steed snap left and into the wall. Pritchett continued without incident to win the heat.
Rawlings took it in stride, flashing a smile, as he limped back to the paddock in his bruised Dodge.
Roadkill Nights is full of experienced, invitation-only racers and this year's event had been incident-free until the Gas Monkey's run.
Rawlings posted a statement later on social media: “Y’all asked for it, here’s me going into the wall at Roadkill Nights against Leah Pritchett. What a day! Looks like I’m gonna need some more practice, sorry Dodge.”
Saturday marked the third year that Dodge, Motor Trend, and M1 have teamed up for the Roadkill spectacle, which kicks off Dream Cruise week.
Rawlings is a Dodge Performance spokesman and he was trailed by fans at the Roadkill event all day. He happily took interviews and posed for selfies and photos.
On this writer's 910 AM "Car Radio" show from M1 Concourse earlier in the day, he said he was looking forward to the celebrity shootout. "I wish they did this in Dallas," said the 49-year old of his home town. "But the weather up here is so much better this time of year. This is where you want to be."
Rawlings says he owns every devilish model of Dodge's SRT performance portfolio including the Hellcat, 797-horse Hellcat Redeye, and 840-horsepower Demon.
The car he crashed, however, was one of four Hellcats - bearing #SaveYourSlips stickers on their front bumpers - that Dodge brought to Roadkill Nights for the late afternoon celebrity shootout. Celebrities included Pritchett, "Roadkill" hosts Mike Finnegan and David Freiburger - and the ultimate winner, pro wrestler Goldberg.
Henry Payne is the Detroit News auto critic and host of "Car Radio" on 910 AM Detroit. He can be reached at Email: email@example.com. Follow HenryEPayne on Twitter and Instragram.
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