Freestyle Champion Koehler Tells His Story
Apr 12, 2011
The newly crowned 2011 Advance Auto Parts Monster Jam World Finals freestyle champion Jim Koehler sits down with MonsterJam.com to talk about the differences between this year and 2003 when he won his first World Championship.
Jim it’s been eight years since you won a world championship. Tell us how this year’s freestyle world championship is different than the one in 2003?
Jim Koehler: Well the biggest difference is, in 2003 I came into Las Vegas with a plan. I had Chris Bergeron on the head set and he was relaying information to me while I was in the staging lane waiting to go. He was telling me which obstacles people were hitting well and what was giving people trouble. I think that really paid off! Also in 2003 (no offense to anyone) there were really only 6 or 8 trucks hitting the jumps really hard. This year could not have been more different. All 24 trucks were going big! I had to go 14th so the odds are a little against you with so many good drivers still left to go. You know I went in this year no so much to win, but to be remembered. I went out with the intention of filling up the clock and hitting the most amount of obstacles. Of course there were a few trucks after me that had some issues, but you know what they say, “You have to finish to win” and it did. This time consistency was the key. I will be ready to repeat my title next year…just wait!
Tell us about that killer 57’ Chevy Red paint job you had in Las Vegas this year?
Jim Koehler: As you know we try to do something different every year. The first year we just reversed the color scheme. Then after that, each year just got crazier and crazier….until it was getting hard to top what we did the year before. Fortunately this year we have a new sponsor, Garner Towing who wanted to do a special paint job for us this year. Jamie is the boss at Garner and he turned the two airbrush artists (Tim and Mike) loose to do whatever they wanted. I had no idea what the paint job looked like until the Saturday before Las Vegas. They did such a great job with the 57’ Chevy red and the airbrushing on top! I was blown away. They also did a great job painting Brutus. The fans loved it from the minute they saw it and throughout the weekend I kept hearing that it was a tossup between last year’s and this year’s design. That brings me to my next hurdle, what the heck do we do next year…hahaha.
MonsterJam.com: How did the whole hot tub in the limo idea materialize?
Jim Koehler: Well that was all Brian Welch’s (Feld Motor Sports Director of Operations) idea. I was talking with him in Syracuse and he mentioned that he had a special water obstacle for me. I told him that was great, but you have to make sure it happens because I am not bringing a backup plan, and I want to make sure to get into some kind of water obstacle this year! When I saw the hot tub limo coming down Thunder Alley I was amazed! Welch really came through this year…what a cool idea! When I ran over to jump in, I expected the water to be nice and warm, only problem is Dave Allison (Feld Motor Sports Event Director) dumped 10 bags of ice into the hot tub before it came out! That water was crazy cold, but I didn’t really care…it was all in good fun. It’s all about putting on a good show for the fans and this year was just amazing!
MonsterJam.com: What is next for Jim Koehler and Team Scream?
Jim Koehler: We have a lot going on right now. I am making some changes to Avenger like widening the stance a little so it will turn better in racing. I am also experimenting with some motor modifications I learned in Las Vegas. I want more horse power with a wider wheel base. The truck works great in freestyle, now I want to focus more on winning some racing trophies!