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Carowinds' new roller coaster The Intimidator opens today

After months of hype and anticipation, Carowinds on Friday unveiled its newest roller coaster, The Intimidator, a $23 million homage to NASCAR legend Dale Earnhardt that's billed as the fastest, tallest and longest coaster in the Southeast.

The coaster, the eighth tallest in North America, is the main attraction for the park's 37th season, which begins officially today.

Using open-air, stadium-style seating on the trains, fashioned to mirror Earnhardt's 1998 No. 3 Chevrolet Monte Carlo, The Intimidator takes thrill-seekers on a 3-minute, 33-second ride at speeds of more than 75 mph over more than a mile of track.

Carowinds officials say the ride, said to approximate the adrenaline rush of a NASCAR race, gives the park a "destination coaster" that will lure tourists and race fans from around the country.

By the numbers

80 mph

The Intimidator's top speed

232 feet

The height of the ride's tallest point

5,316 feet

The length of the track

74 degrees

The angle of The Intimidator's first drop, which plummets riders 211 feet.

For information on regular park hours, tickets and the other new addition, a children's area now called Planet Snoopy, visit

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