Between the Great Depression of the 1930's and the 1960's, not many were willing to build a park from scratch. Many experienced a period of inactivity or closure due to America's unpopular opinion on amusement parks. Parks like Cedar Point and both Coney Islands struggled to stay alive. Walt Disney in 1957 brought back the idea introducing Disneyland in California, which sparked a bit of hope into the amusement park industry. Such an idea came to the minds of those of Taft Broadcasting in southwest Ohio as they sought to move from their Ohio River side location of Coney Island and move. What came out is the park we all know as Kings Island. However, it was one piviotal coaster that was built that truly brought back the notion that amusement parks were here to stay. That ride would be known as the Racer.
The legendary coaster designer John Allen was hired to design the ride. Taft Broadcasting had already had him design two signature rides at Coney Island, the ever popular Shooting Star, and the legendary Wildcat. The idea was to improve upon the out and back Shooting Star design with not one, but two tracks, creating the stage for what the ride was named to do. For the most part, the design is simple, but even so, the impact would be felt throughout America, and eventually, the world.
The red, white and blue Racer started construction in 1971, and in 1972, it debuted with the rest of Kings Island for its inagural season. Since then, its remained a Kings Island favorite and a staple ride in the Kings Island ride line up. John Allen would later improve on the Racer by designing such rides such as Great American Scream Machine at Six Flags over Georgia and Screaming Eagle at Six Flags St. Louis. He died in 1979, but not before providing special calculations and brake design for Kings Island's big woodie, The Beast. The Racer concept would be replicated years later in Kings Dominions Rebel Yell, Carowinds Thunder Run, and Six Flags Great America's American Eagle.
In its opening year, the park was the main location in one Brady Bunch episode, and helped promote the opening of the park. Racer was also a guest star in the episode, with the whole Brady family riding it at one point.
The Racer itself has gone through quite the scheme change over the years. The park eventually did away with the American color scheme, instead painting the structure white while just keeping the tracks laminated, in a dark brown wood color. In 1982 with the dismal failure of the Bat, the right side of the Racer was turned backwards and was kept that way until Cedar Fair bought the park and changed it to all forwards in 2007.
2007 was also the year that the American Coaster Enthusiasts (more commonly known as ACE) made the Racer a Roller Coaster Landmark during Coaster Con XXX. It was the second ACE landmark at the park, with the first being the Beast.
Located in the Coney Mall section of the park, the Racer dominates the far side of the park, illuminating the area with its hill strung string lights at night. It can be heard roaring through the area, twice as much if they are racing (which operators are quite apt not to do). The queue splits upon coming upto the classic themed switchbacks, chosing between red to the right, blue to the left.
As soon as the thumbs up is given, the trains start out of the station in unison, going opposite directions as they glide parallel to the station. After cruising beneith their respective brake runs, they turn to meet at the lift. Riders call out to each other, taunting that their train is better, all while going up a 30 degree angle to a crest of 88 ft. With the realization of the drop now apparent, riders face forward and the trains dip 45 degrees towards earth. 88 vertical feet later, the trains are screaming along at 60 miles per hour. The action doesn't cease there. Two shallow speed hills pin riders to the lap bar with air time while maintaining that speed. The trains lurch up and down, pitching forth and aft in a struggle to stay ahead. A hill about 2/3rds as high as the lift slows the action for a bit. Then, the trains split off. The red going left and the blue going right. Another speed hill awaits sending riders airborne again. The third tallest hill serves as the turnaround, each train turning to the outside of the course. As soon as they make the 180, they dive again and get back into the action. Another air hill provides even more air as the opposing train comes into view. Now in a frantic dash for the finish, the trains fly over smaller set air hills for some good doses of air goodness. The trains rise and level above the entrance to X-base before plowing into a covered brake run, ending the madness.