More than 500 feet of track being replaced on The Racer roller coaster
An incredible amount of care goes into The Racer each winter to keep the 48-year-old roller coaster in peak operating condition. Annual work on the ride during the offseason months may include replacing a number of the running rails made of flattened steel strips mounted on the wooden track, replacing support bents and ledgers, or sections of track.
Some years may require more extensive work than others, with this year being one of them. Carpenters are currently busy removing the stacks of wood used for the track from the base of the first drop through the 65-foot tall fourth hill on both sides of the ride. More than 500 feet of the old and mostly original track through this section of the ride will be replaced this winter, which will ensure smoother rides when the park opens for the 2021 season.
In addition to being considered an important part of the roller coaster renaissance of the 1970’s, The Racer was the site of several world record-riding attempts and is notable for its appearance in the “Cincinnati Kids” episode of The Brady Bunch, filmed at the park in 1972. On May 28, 1982, one side of The Racer became the world’s first full-length, backwards traveling roller coaster. (Both sides now face forward.)
Kings Island officials coaxed the legendary roller coaster designer 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 1960. Actual construction began in September, 1970. The first trial run came a year later 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.
While it has been more than 40 years since The Racer was the tallest, fastest, longest and most thrilling roller coaster at Kings Island, the ride remains popular with our guests, annually ranking among the top five attractions for the most rides given.
Since its debut April 29, 1972, The Racer has given more than 106 million rides – by far the most in park history! Its record year was 1976, when a Kings Island single-season attraction record 3,681,338 rides were given.