No more 'Intimidator' at America's theme parks

February 28, 2024, 6:40 PM · The race is over for theme parks' Intimidator.

Carowinds and Kings Dominion have changed the name of their former Intimidator and Intimidator 305 roller coasters, following the apparent end of their license to use the late Dale Earnhardt's nickname.

The NASCAR-themed roller coasters opened for the 2010 season. Here are Russell Meyer's reviews from their openings:

Going forward, the Carowinds coaster, a Bolliger & Mabillard Hyper, will be called Thunder Striker, while the Kings Dominion ride, an Intamin, will be known as Project 305. That coaster ranks on our readers' top 10 roller coasters in the world.

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Replies (7)

February 28, 2024 at 9:58 PM

I don't think "Project 305" is the final name for the KD coaster, or at least I hope not...they're talking as if they haven't settled on the final branding. Thunder Striker is terrible. Not only does it mean nothing, there's a coaster with "Strike" in the name in the same park!

February 29, 2024 at 1:02 AM

From the company that brought you Backlot Stunt Coaster, Flight Deck, and Iron Menace...just when you thought they could not possibly come up with any worse names for roller coasters...

This has got to be an early April fools joke, right?

February 29, 2024 at 6:06 AM

Carowinds should do a brand partnership with Unilever and rename Intimidator 305 as "Mr. Whippy".

February 29, 2024 at 12:45 PM

Honestly, I'm surprised this didn't happen sooner. The parks were already minimizing the Intimidator merchandise and allowing theming elements to deteriorate. The question is how do you retheme coasters that are so heavily themed around NASCAR? This is far more than what they did to the Italian Job coasters where they minimized the look of the trains so as to not distinctively appear to be Mini Coopers. Both Intimidator and I-305 have distinctive features unique to NASCAR racers, and will require new dead cars in addition to extensive changes to the queue and plaza areas.

I really don't like these "generic" approaches, particularly since both Carowinds and Kings Dominion have done such a good job over the past few years of developing internal IP for their attractions (Copperhead Strike and Tumbili most recently). Stripping the theming from high-themed coasters is not the answer.

February 29, 2024 at 11:32 AM

Rolling Thunder would have been a better name for Intimidator at Carowinds. Lots of sustained airtime.

Maybe they'll rename I305 to Thunder Striker 305. Or rename that whole back section:
Flight of Fear => Blackout ('cause it's in the dark)
I305 => Grayout ('cause that's what happens when you ride it)
Anaconda => Knockout ('cause of the head banging)

February 29, 2024 at 4:00 PM

Reading the backstory, Thunder Striker sounds like a solution put together in a single session where they didn't know in advance the branding was going away and had to present a final proposal that day. I do like the callback to Thunder Road, but wish they'd created a better name (though I suppose it's no worse than Knott's having both GhostRider and Coast Rider). In reality, it's going to have zero impact on the ride experience, so whatever.

Project 305, on the other hand, is definitely a placeholder name while that park finalizes what they're doing with the ride. I'm not sure how long things have been in the works there, but I'd love to see them do something really cool with the ride to blend it into the Jungle X-Pedition theme of the area.

February 29, 2024 at 5:54 PM

Coast Rider is at least a pun playing off GhostRider. Thunder Striker is a meaningless nothingburger. Just call it Thunder Road, it was already car-themed!

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