Forty-five years ago this Saturday, the Racer roller coaster opened at Kings Island.
The Racer — really it’s twin racers — has been the focal point of the Coney Mall sector of Kings Island since its debut, and with good reason. More than 103 million guests have taken a ride on the Racer since it opened April 29, 1972 — the most in park history. Its record year was 1976, when a park record 3,681,338 rides were given.
In addition to being considered an important part of the roller coaster renaissance of the 1970’s, the Racer was the site of several world-record riding attempts and is notable for its appearance in the “Cincinnati Kids” episode of The Brady Bunch, filmed at the park in 1973. On May 28, 1982, one side of the Racer became the world’s first full-length, backwards traveling roller coaster (both sides now face forward).
Kings Island officials coaxed designer John Allen out of semi-retirement for the task of designing and building the Racer. He started to design the ride’s blueprints in 1969. Actual construction began in September, 1970. The first trial run came in September, 1971. It worked perfectly the first time as Allen predicted it would.
The Racer was the first roller coaster built structurally on the ground with prefabricated sections lifted into position and bolted. It was one of the largest roller coasters ever built at the time, and the largest that Allen had built. He considered the Racer to be the finest roller coaster he ever built.
There’s more than 600,000 board feet of lumber in the ride. Nobody knows how many nails. The construction crew started with 6,000 tons of nails which lasted only 60 days.
In addition to the Racer, the Eiffel Tower, Woodstock Express roller coaster and Kings Island and Miami Valley Railroad also turn 45 on Saturday.
After losing a World Series bet with Great America, Cedar Point will pay the piper next weekend as they live up to their side of the wager.
Beginning next weekend and running for two days only, the amusement park in Sandusky, Ohio, will rename one of its roller coasters after the Cubs, dubbing it the "Top Thrill Cubster," according to a release.
The ride, normally called the "Top Thrill Dragster," takes riders on a journey reaching speeds of 120 MPH and heights of 420 feet.
According to the theme park, guests riding the roller coaster next weekend will be able to get a souvenir photo, and special t-shirts will also be sold to commemorate the occasion.
"The 2016 World Series was an all-time classic, but unfortunately for us, Chicago came out on top, so we're paying up," Cedar Point general manager Jason McClure said in a statement. Six Flags Great America in north suburban Gurnee originally proposed the bet in a video posted online ahead of Game 1 of the World Series.
Join us today for live updates from Busch Gardens Media Day as we experience the first rides of their brand new wooden coaster InvadR!
Getting ready for the Ribbon Cutting at #InvadR Grand Opening! Video will be posted to YouTube of the ceremony shortly!
Fun fact from Suzy Cheely: During construction they found old wood underground from an old ball pit play area. #InvadR
#InvadR is very much like White Lightning, but with a twister terrain aspect. More directional changes. Just as much airtime and speed.
InvadR has some great speed. Its size is very deceptive. It is quick, agile, and filled with airtime and directional changes.
The crew with Cindy from @BuschGardensVA and @DevinOlsonMedia here today! Great job by all!
We have a winner folks! #InvadR is a great ride!
A very nicely decorated station! #InvadR
The blue dragon train is off! The bear train represents the Villagers, the dragon represents the Vikings.
The yellow bear train on its way! #InvadR
We will be riding for Reverse POV shortly! #InvadR
Wonderful looking ride area!
We're being escorted to the ride now! #InvadR
There are roughly 96,000 bolted connections on #InvadR and over 10,000 pounds of nails used.
A little chilly and breezy this morning. #InvadR ride times are slightly delayed. We'll keep you posted as we get closer to riding.
#InvadR has two tunnels over the course of the ride. It has a 46-inch height requirement, shorter than most other GCI coasters.
#InvadR has a 74-foot drop to kick things off at 48MPH. 9 airtime hills will greet us throughout the ride!
Having some breakfast prior to the online working media entering the ride area!
Lots of banners around the park! Very beautiful this morning!
We're on our way back to the ride! #InvadR