The Intimidator roller coaster at Carowinds – Click above for high-res image gallery. Follow the jump to watch video.

The Intimidator, befitting the man who inspired it, is the fastest, tallest, and longest roller coaster in the Southeast. The snaking steel beast, more than a mile long and named for the late Dale Earnhardt, is 232 feet high and drops 211 feet in one go. Riders at the Carowinds theme park hit 80 miles per hour in cars made to look like the #3 Chevy Monte Carlo, only with the addition of stadium seating that ensures everyone gets a clear view – something we're pretty sure Dale's NASCAR Chevy didn't have.

If you're interested, the Intimidator coaster opens this weekend. Follow the jump to read Carowinds' official press release and take a virtual spin in this new NASCAR-themed thrill ride.

[Source: Carowinds]

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Intimidator changes the landscape for thrill seekers
New $23 million steel coaster at Carowinds inspired by racing legend Dale Earnhardt the tallest, fastest and longest coaster in the Southeast!

CHARLOTTE, NC, (March 26, 2010) /PRNewswire/ - If you think riding the Afterburn roller coaster at Carowinds is an adventure (and it is - it annually ranks among the top 25 steel roller coasters in the world in surveys done by several coaster experts), wait until this year!

Carowinds has changed the landscape for thrill seekers in 2010 with the tallest, fastest and longest roller coaster in the Southeast, Intimidator. Inspired by racing legend Dale Earnhardt, the $23 million steel coaster stands 232 feet tall at its highest point with a first drop of 211 feet at a 74-degree angle. Riders race their way around 5,316 feet of track at speeds up to 80 miles per hour!

Intimidator was designed by Bolliger & Mabillard of Monthey, Switzerland, a recognized industry leader in roller coaster development, and becomes the park's 13th roller coaster. The addition of Intimidator compliments Carowinds already impressive lineup of world-class rides, shows and attractions, including the all-new Planet Snoopy kids' area.

"Intimidator has all the elements which make for a great coaster," Carowinds' vice president and general manager Bart Kinzel said. "It has height, speed, twists, sharp turns and an abundance of incredible air time. We're very excited about our new signature attraction. There's nothing else like it in the Southeast."

Adding to the overall ride experience on Intimidator is the use of open-air, stadium-style seating on the trains, which are fashioned to mirror Dale Earnhardt's 1998 RCR No. 3 Chevrolet Monte Carlo. The design gives all riders an unobstructed view of all the thrills and excitement of Intimidator's seven steep drops - one for each of his NASCAR championships - and intense finish through a spectacular diving spiral. The ride experience on Intimidator lasts a heart pounding three minutes and replicates the speed and intensity of a fast-paced NASCAR race.

Intimidator has a heavily themed midway, complete with a Victory Lane and a video tribute to Dale Earnhardt's racing accomplishments. The ride is located in the Carowinds Plaza.

"Dale Earnhardt was arguably the most exciting, aggressive and skilled driver to ever race on a NASCAR track," Kinzel said. "The name Intimidator pays tribute to a racing legend and gives the ride an identity that riders can truly identify and connect with."

Intimidator will be ready for riders on Carowinds Opening Day, Saturday, March 27.

Carowinds is owned and operated by Cedar Fair Entertainment Company, a publicly traded partnership that is listed for trading on The New York Stock Exchange under the symbol "FUN." In addition to Carowinds, Cedar Fair owns and operates ten other amusement parks, six water parks, one indoor water park resort and five hotels. Cedar Fair also operates the Gilroy Gardens Family Theme Park in Gilroy, California under a management contract.

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