Well, today, two of my favorite things came together in an odd, but very cool way. NASCAR and rollercoaster’s collided at a press conference at the Kings Dominion theme park just outside of Richmond, VA. Kings Dominion is just minutes from where I live, so I am naturally stoked about this. Kings Dominion announced it’s newest attraction for 2010: the Intimidator 305 rollercoaster. The coaster will be 305 feet tall, have a 300 foot drop at 85 degrees and achieve speeds of up to 90 mph. The theme for the coaster, and the name, are derived from one of NASCAR’s greatest drivers: Dale Earnhardt Sr.
Dale Earnhardt, seven time NASCAR champion, was known as the intimidator partly due to the color of his car and partly due to his on track demeanor. The coaster’s height and speed will likely intimidate many who visit the park as it will be visible from most of the park due to its height. The trains are themed as black Chevy’s, much like the one Earnhardt drove when he raced.
Among the guests as today’s announcement were Earnhardt’s daughter, Taylor. Together with representatives from Cedar Fair-the parent company of Kings Dominion, the Lt. Governor of Virginia, and a Dale Earnhardt Incorporated executive, the general manager of the park showed of a nice little model of the new ride, introduced a video of a rendering of a first person ride perspective and compared the ride height to the signature Eiffel Tower that adorns the parks main entranceway. The tower is a one-third scale (that puts it at 300 feet) model of the famous tower.
The park has had a history of ‘firsts’ in the ride world. This ride will be the tallest and fastest coaster of its type on the east coast and only the second ‘giga coaster’ in the country. A ‘giga coaster’ is one that is greater than 300 feet tall and 90 mph or faster. Previous record setting coasters in the park include the Hypersonic, the King Kobra, the Volcano Blast Coaster, the Dominator and the Flight of Fear. Hypersonic and King Kobra are no longer at the park. The Volcano remains the tallest and fastest suspended launched coaster. Flight of Fear and its companion coaster at Kings Island in Ohio were the first linear induction launched coasters. Anaconda, which sits over the remains of Lake Charles, is the only coaster that goes under water. It does so only briefly and right after the first drop.
The Intimidator, designed by Intamin AG, is scheduled to open in April of 2010.