Carowinds has launched a charity auction for seats on the first ride of its Intimidator rollercoaster, which it has confirmed will open for the first time on March 27, 2010.
The park is aiming to raise funds for the Dale Earnhardt Foundation, which benefits local charitable programs focused on children and education. The NASCAR-themed Intimidator is named in honor of Dale Earnhardt Sr., the seven-time NASCAR champion who died during the Daytona 500 race in 2001.
Coaster fans hoping to secure a seat on Intimidator's first ride can place bids through Carowind's website. At the time of writing, the top bid stands at $250, with the auction set to run until 11.59pm on Tuesday, March 23.
Up for grabs in the auction are 96 seats on the first 3 trains to travel around the Intimidator circuit. The choice of seats will be dictated by the successful's bidder's ranking in the auction - the highest bidder will have first choice of seats. Therefore, to guarantee a seat on the very first train bidders will need to place in the top 32 when the auction closes. Full conditions can be found on the Carowinds site.
The Dale Earnhardt foundation aims to "continue the legend" of the late driver through charitable programs and grants to organisations supporting children, education and the environment. This includes organisations such as the Make-A-Wish Foundation, the American Red Cross and JRDF (Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation).
Intimidator 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). 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.
Intimidator and Intimidator 305 both feature in Theme Park Tourist's list of the 10 most exciting new theme park attractions opening in 2010.
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