avenger

Jim Koehler completed Avenger in 1997. Both driver and truck were relative unknowns until a breakout appearance at the Minneapolis event in the Metrodome in November, 1999. The event included the  first judged freestyle competition, and Koehler scored a 29 out of a possible 30 points to finish behind Tom Meents in Bulldozer with a high-energy run that showed the influence of Meents and Dennis Anderson. When the event aired on TNN in January, the run, combined with Koehler’s high-energy pit interviews made him an overnight star on the Monster Truck circuit.

Later that season, Koehler made the highlight reel again in the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans with a massive cartwheel crash in the final round of racing against Rob Knell and NWO. That run added to Koehler’s already growing reputation as a “wildman”, and it earned him a berth in the first ever World Finals thanks to fan votes.

Koehler continued to maintain his wild reputation, however did not win many freestyles due to often hurting the truck before the end of the allotted time. Some also felt that he was underscored on freestyles due to early draws. However, he was an annual World Finalist and is one of the few drivers to be invited to all twelve. A body change from a Chevy S-10 to a 1957 Chevy Bel Air also helped to increase his popularity. During this time he also expanded his team to include Brutus, owned and driven by Chris Bergeron.

In 2003, Koehler won the biggest award of his career, the Monster Jam World Finals Freestyle Championship. It pushed Koehler’s popularity through the roof and he has won several freestyles since. He also won this award in 2011, after a 32 point tie with nitro circus. On November 14, 2009 he drove the Aussie Avenger in the South Pacific World Finals 2 and won freestyle.

Unlike other owner/drivers, the monster truck is not Koehler’s primary job. He owns and operates a marina in Chesterfield, near his hometown of Columbus, Michigan.

Jim Koehler – AVENGER
Hometown: Columbus, MI
Birthdate: 7-13-66
Spouse: Michelle
Children: Ashley (9-29-95), Nick (8-23-98), Chris (10-19-99), Jon (4-15-2004)
What was your family’s reaction when you first started driving Monster Trucks? They first thought I was crazy to build it, but once I was racing with it, they thought it was cool.
What year did you start racing? 1997
Worst Crash: New Orleans, 2002 and crashing the chrome body in 2006
Toughest Competitor: Tom Meents, and Chris because he is my partner
Hobbies: Jet Skiing, Riding Quads, Having fun with the kids
Best Advice to kids who want to become monster truck drivers: Stick to your dreams, enjoy life
Sentence that best describes being a monster truck driver: It’s like being a superhero without having to chase criminals
What are 4 words that best describe you? Crazy, wild, excitement and out-of-control
Is Monster Truck is your main job? I own a marina
Name one thing you are extremely proud of accomplishing? Building my truck
Career highlights? Vegas 2003 Freestyle, Being named Mr. Excitement by Scott Douglass and being where I am in my career
Name one thing you are extremely proud of accomplishing? Building my truck
What’s your favorite stop on the tour?Indy, Jacksonville and Las Vegas
What gets you pumped to compete?    Hearing the crowd, seeing the track and the fans at the pit party
What is your biggest goal? Racing? Freestyle? Other?    Freestyle is the key to the whole sport

TRUCK FACTS:

Body: 1957 Chevy

Chassis:  In-House

Engine: 572 ci

Transmission: Coan 2-Speed

Tires:  66x43x25 Flotation