Pontiac – Gary Box of Cleveland, Ohio was crowned the King of Woodward Avenue Saturday night after a downpour washed out Roadkill Nights’ Final Five drag racing shootout.

After a full day of legal street racing down Woodward Avenue (closed north of South Boulevard for the event) next to the M1 Concourse, five drivers qualified for the finals: Box, John Paul Delisi of Eastpointe, Michigan; Brian Goidstone of Osceda Michigan; Jim Kline of Wyoming, Michigan; and Lenny Milton of Salisbury, North Carolina.

By virtue of posting the fastest qualifying time, Box was crowned the winner after the skies opened at 8 PM and rendered the 1/8 mile strip too wet to race. Box took home the $10,000 first prize.


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Roadkill Nights Powered by Dodge opened Dream Cruise week and, in keeping with the democratic spirit of the Cruise, the race cars were all street legal and piloted by amateur enthusiasts. The packed stands were also treated to an exhibition run by NHRA pro racer Leah Pritchett in her 11,000-horsepower Top Fuel dragster.

Box, 63, was the only competitor to clock a run under 6 seconds in the 1/8 mile in his outrageous, black, 1960s-vintage Corvette Stingray — a towering blower sticking out of its front hood. He 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 before the rains came, Woodward turned jet black under his feet from a day of 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 around town. The side pipes put out a deafening 99 decibels, but, like everything else here, the car is street legal.

Not so fortunate was Tom…