Wooden Roller Coaster Maintenance Keeps The Racer in Peak Operating Condition

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Annual care keeps The Racer in peak operating condition

Don Helbig |
March 31, 2020

The annual care and roller coaster maintenance that goes into keeping The Racer in peak operating condition included the retracking of the turnaround on the south side (red trains) of the twin-track wooden roller coaster over the winter. 

The turnaround on the north side (blue trains) was retracked last year. 

Other work completed on The Racer since giving its last rides of the 2019 season in October include replacing a number of the running rails made of flattened steel strips mounted on the wooden track and replacing support bents and ledgers.

Kings Island officials coaxed John Allen of the Philadelphia Toboggan Company out of semi-retirement for the task of designing and building The Racer. He started to design the ride’s blueprints in December 1969. The first trial run came in September 1971. It worked perfectly the first time as Allen predicted it would. 

The Racer was the first roller coaster built structurally on the ground with prefabricated sections lifted into position and bolted. It was one of the largest roller coasters ever built at the time, and the largest that Allen had built. He considered The Racer to be the finest roller coaster he ever built. 

There’s more than 600,000 board feet of lumber in the ride. Nobody knows how many nails. The construction crew started with 6,000 tons of nails which lasted only 60 days. 

The Racer has given more than 1 million rides each year since its opening in 1972. In total, more than 106 million guests have taken a ride on The Racer, far and away the most in park history. Its best year was 1976 when a park record 3,681,338 rides were given.