|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
Body: 1957 Chevy
Engine: 572 ci
Transmission: Coan 2-Speed
Tires: 66x43x25 Flotation