Published August 20, 2009
|Kings Dominion, Carowinds To Debut
Earnhardt-Themed Coasters Next Year
New roller coasters at two amusement parks -- Kings Dominion in Doswell, Virginia, and Carowinds in Charlotte -- will debut next year with Dale Earnhardt marks as part of a unique licensing agreement with Dale Earnhardt Inc (DEI). The new 305-foot-tall, $25M coaster at Kings Dominion, being announced today, will be called Intimidator 305 and will measure 5,100 feet in length. The cars, which will carry "Intimidator" and "3" marks -- after Earnhardt's nickname and car number during his NASCAR days -- will reach speeds of 90 mph. The Carowinds coaster is expected to be announced next week. Both properties are owned by Cedar Fair Entertainment, which struck the licensing deal with DEI. "We see this as part of the reactivation of the Dale Earnhardt brand," DEI Exec VP & GM Jeff Steiner said this morning as he drove with Earnhardt's daughter, Taylor, to Kings Dominion for the announcement. "We've been working to restore the Dale Earnhardt legacy through unique things that resonate with the fanbase and this fits in with our strategy." DEI merged its Sprint Cup racing operations with Chip Ganassi Racing last year to form Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing, but DEI still exists as the rights holder of the Earnhardt legacy, with his widow Teresa Earnhardt at the helm. "We've been reaching out to the consumers to see if there is still an interest in the Earnhardt legacy and the answer has been a resounding yes," Steiner said. "Theme parks want marquee rides that can be their hallmark and they see this as something that will resonate with the fans, especially in the Southeast." DEI owns the likeness rights to Earnhardt, while Richard Childress Racing owns the rights to the No. 3. Steiner described the licensing agreement with Cedar Fair as a collaborative effort with RCR so that both marks -- Earnhardt's likeness and the No. 3 -- could be included in the deal. Additionally, Steiner said there will be a strong merchandise play around the Intimidator coaster, both at the park and through the DEI retail outlets.