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Carowinds Intimidator render

Carowinds has added the final pieces of track to its $23 million Intimidator rollercoaster, which will open in 2010.

The park claims that construction of Intimidator is running ahead of schedule, and that testing could begin as early as February. An auction is set to take place for seats on the first ever ride on the new coaster in January - details of which will be announced on the Intimidator website.

Intimidator is themed around NASCAR racing and will dwarf the the other coasters at Carowinds with its 232-feet lift hill and 211-feet first drop (neighboring Afterburn stands at 144-feet). The coaster is named in honor of the late stock car driver Dale Earnhardt, who died during the Daytona 500 race in 2001. A Bolliger & Mabillard Hypercoaster, it will reach 75mph and feature seven "air time" hills to represent Earnhardt's seven NASCAR championships.

Sister park Kings Dominion will also open a NASCAR-themed coaster in 2010. Its Intimidator 305 will be the second Intamin Giga Coaster in the US, after Millenium Force at Cedar Point. The park is spending $25 million on the coaster, which will feature Chevy-themed cars, an 85-degree, 300 foot initial drop and a top speed of 92mph.

One of the most successful NASCAR drivers of all time, Dale Earnhardt, Sr. died during the Daytona 500 race in 2001. He was nicknamed the "The Intimidator" due to his aggressive driving style.

Intimidator and Intimidator 305 both feature in Theme Park Tourist's list of the 10 most exciting new theme park attractions opening in 2010.

You can keep up to date with the latest confirmed and rumored opening dates for new attractions through Theme Park Tourist's "New Attraction Watch" section, and by signing up for our weekly newsletter using the box on the right of this page.

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