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Dodge Is Foregoing The Hemi V8 For Next Year’s Event

Roadkill Nights 2019 2020 2021
Roadkill Nights

For those that enjoyed the show (and with a record attendance of 40,000 people this year who didn’t quite frankly?), Roadkill Nights is making a comeback for 2023. Once again we can expect continued mayhem as closed-course drag racing down Woodward Avenue, but for next year, there will be a few switching of gears.

Hurricrate engine hurricane twin turbo i6 six cylinder mopar dodge direct connection crate motor

Roadkill Nights 2023: Details

Roadkill Nights 2023 will introduce a new Grudge Match format, made up of teams featuring a seasoned Mentor and a new-to-racing Protégé that will work together to build their Dodge muscle car, and to eventually line up at the lights, and race for all of the bragging rights. Additionally, while each and every previous RKN event has largely orbited around the power and capabilities of the Hemi V8 engine, this new format will highlight the capabilities of Direct Connection’s offerings, namely the all-new HurriCrate series engines, which were announced during the 2022 SEMA Show. The engines, derived from the brand new 3.0L Hurricane inline-six engine that’s trickling into the Stellantis lineup. Each Mentor/Protégé team will be given a HurriCrate engine, and is expected to do radical things with it.

The Mentor is to be an experienced drag racer and online automotive builder. The Protégé on the other hand is to be a rookie, relatively speaking. The Mentor will essentially take the rookie under their wing, with the assistance of an exclusive Power Broker dealer, and vip access to the Direct Connection Hotline for added resources. Overall, the Mentor will assist with building, tuning, and testing, while the Protégé will ultimately duke it out on the strip in the end against the others.

Looking through the new HurriCrate engine portfolio, these engines appear to be made just for an occasion such as Roadkill Nights. The HurriCrate CatX, according to Dodge, is supposed to offer over 1,000 horsepower, comes equipped with an aluminum block and race heads, and is slated to go in the next gen Drag Pak. That’s Hellephant levels of lunacy, with two-less cylinders. Which has us considering the following…

2022 Roadkill Nights By Dodge

Hemi v. Hurricane: Reading Between The Lines

Here’s what Dodge isn’t saying, but in a way kind of is: the brand’s future is heavily vested in the success of the Hurricane engine. When the twin-turbo straight-six debuted for the Jeep Grand Wagoneer, the fate of the Hemi V8 engine family appeared to be sealed. That’s because the power of the Hurricane engine was enough to make the Hemi redundant, while producing fewer emissions in the process. Politicians like that. As such, the proven, cost-effective, and long-living Hemi will have to yield to a more complex, more expensive and more energy efficient method of propulsion.

Are the future Charger and Challenger – or whatever comes next – going to be powered by a row of six boosted cylinders? Officially, Dodge says “no,” while trusted analysts say “yes.” Adding credence to the latter is Dodge’s emphasis on the HurriCrate engine family for Roadkill Nights. After all, why would Dodge focus an event around the power and capability of a new engine if the brand’s intentions are to go electric? Makes you wonder.

Written by Cody U.

Cody is a Tennessee-based media professional with a degree in Journalism and Electronic Media. He has spent time as a country radio morning show producer and currently writes for MC&T as an outlet to geek out over cool cars, trucks, and utility vehicles.

Originally from California Cody has an appreciation for all-electric vehicles but a soft spot for the rumble of an all-American V8 muscle car. His dream car remains a 2007 Ford Mustang Bullitt. His fascination with all things cars stems from countless trips to car shows and watching car movies, of course.


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