--- May 17, 2006 ---
Monster Spectacular Canada
This weekend we traveled deep in to Canada just north of Montreal. Chris Arel Motorsports would be host to two different Monster Spectaculars. The first in Three Rivers on Friday and the second in Quebec City on Saturday. The line up was Samson, Iron Warrior, Black Stallion, Scream in Demon, and of course Avenger and Brutus. The weekend started out cold and rainy. With talk of the show being canceled do to the weather, we tired the trucks up and got everything ready anyway. As we worked the weather got better still a little cold but no rain. Jim wanting to give me (Steve Koehler) a little more seat time, he decided I would race the Avenger and he would freestyle it.
Racing Round one would pair up Avenger vs Scream in Demon, Black Stallion vs Iron Warrior, Brutus vs Samson. Well my race with Scream in Demon was close, but he beat me. Brutus ran into troubles with he transfer case. After the first jump the drive train just locked up and he was out for the night. Round two I got to come back as fast loser to face Dan Patrick in Samson. Dan is a veteran and on a Chicago style track would be hard to beat. He cut his turns perfect while I went wide giving him the win. Samson would go on to beat Black Stallion in the final. Jim took the wheel back and was sent out last for Freestyle. He definitely was the finale with huge air and way more hits than any one else. His freestyle was WIIIIIIIIIIILLLLLLLD!!!!!
Saturday morning we showed up at the Pepsi coliseum in Quebec City. The Avenger was ready to go but the Brutus was in ruff shape. The transfer case was wasted so we removed it at three rivers to free up the drive train, so we could load the truck in to the trailer. Things went from bad to worse on the trip to Quebec. One of the straps holding the truck down broke, letting the Brutus roll forward smashing the dog’s nose. The entire front clip was cracked and broken. Jim was on a mission to fix the transfer case, but with all the gears stripped and no spare parts it wouldn't be easy. Finding parts in a French-speaking city on a Saturday would be even harder. Luckily one of the guys working the show spoke some English and was willing to help. He had a machine shop and knew where Jim might be able to find the gears he needed. Well the shop didn't have the gears but they did have chains and sprockets. All the other monster truck drivers said Jim was nuts and though his idea of converting the blown up gear driven case to a chain drive would never work. Jim just took their words as fuel for his fire. With about a half hour left before the start of the show. The transfer case was back in and working.
Racing round one both Avenger and Brutus would pull off wins only to meet up in round two. Where the Brutus would take down the Avenger to meet Samson in the final. Another close run but Samson would take the win. On to freestyle with the chain drive holding strong Chris was ready laying down one of the best freestyles of the night. The arena was small just the racing lanes and a van stack in the middle. He started out with the biggest most vertical sky wheelie of the night. After a few more hits on the cars he went for the vans. Where he pulled off a slap wheelie. The crowd went nuts that was the first and only slap wheelie of the night and they loved it. The Avenger started out with couple sky wheelies and came around to cut into a donut, but the tires stuck and over the Avenger went. A light rollover but in the small arena it seemed spectacular. Again the crowd was on their feet. Once the truck was flipped back to its wheels Jim hopped in and continued what he started. No donuts but some big air and sweet jumps.
The crew from ETREMELOUNGE CONCEPTIONS
was on hand taking picture so be sure to check em out.
--- May 11, 2006 ---
4 Wheel Jamboree Springfield, Missouri
This weekend started out Friday, with a display of the Metallic Mayhem at the local Wal-Mart to promote the Jamboree. Special Events also brought the Silver Anniversary Edition Chevy Silverado that is to be given away to one lucky winner at the Indy Jamboree. Chris was also on hand to sign autographs and answer any questions the Wal-Mart shopper’s might have about the trucks or the show. After that we headed to the Ozark fair ground and set the trucks up.
Saturday morning the show started early. Ton of show trucks, tuff trucks, mud buggers, rock crawlers, and of coarse a few monster. Besides the Avenger and Metallic Mayhem, there was Raminator, Rammunition, Allen Pezo in the Predator, and Randy Brown in the Grave Digger all ready to do battle in front of the wild Jamboree fans. The track was straight line racing on concrete with dirt ramps. The racing lanes started out on a small roller then on to a ramp with 5 cars. At the far end of the track there were two van stacks and a slap wheelie jump. It started to rain about an hour before the afternoon show making the track very slick.
Round one Predator took out Raminator, Avenger took down Randy Brown in the Grave Digger, and Rammunition beat the Metallic Mayhem. Round two Digger came back as fast loser to beat Rammunition and Predator took out the Avenger and went on to beat Digger in the final round.
Freestyle was sweet but messy. Metallic Mayhem went out second and started out strong over the racing lane and around to the van stack riding a wheelie down the backside. Then on to the back side of the cars for a nice sky wheelie after that he jumped the racing lane and headed back to the other van stack. The track was tight not giving him any kind of a run at it. The truck popped up nicely but when the rear tires hit the side of the van down it came. Leaving Chris high sided on the van. He tried to work it off but the tires just spun from all the rain and mud. He laughed and held his finger and thumb in the shape of an L on his for head as the wrecker pulled him off the obstacle. It’s definitely not Chris’s style to get stuck on anything and he was embarrassed but he knew he would make up for it in the evening show. Jim’s run went sweet starting out on the racing lanes and making his way to the vans where even though it was wet he still pulled off a bit of a slap wheelie. Then it was donut time spinning about 10 revolutions that walked the truck across the entire track. Still dizzy Jim blasted the van stack, one more big sky wheelie off the cars and a wave to the crowd he was done. Both trucks were 100% and ready for the evening show.
It continued to rain and due to safety issues the officials had called off the racing portion of the nights event. So straight to Freestyle they went. Chris was ready to prove that the Metallic Mayhem is as wild as Brutus, and he did. Jumping the racing lane and going right after the vans and clearing them. Back in his grove he back sided the cars with a sky wheelie and carried the front tire across all four cars and down the racing ramp. He swung back around and blasted the racing ramp all out clearing the cars. Now it was time for the van that got the best of him earlier. He took it wide then hammered it. Even in the wet weather he cleared the entire stack. The tires never even touched the van. From there he broke out into a donut. The slick track sent him spinning in to the rock crawler’s muddy rock pile. He let off then got back in to it. This time he went spinning into the van stack. Lined up with the backside of the racing lane he had a good run at it and cleared the whole lane. As he came around the rear steer hung up so he went over the cars on a crab walk. One more hit on the vans. Then he ended it with another donut that sent him right back in to that muddy rock pile.
Chris had a great run and Jim knew he had better step it up to top it. Right out of the gate he was rock’n, hitting the little roller hill and getting some air. Over the racing lane and to the vans clearing them with a little slap wheelie on the landing. Next he would backside the cars with a big sky wheelie clearing the entire lane. Back over the racing lane and back to the vans getting the biggest air of the day followed by another sweet sky wheelie off the cars. Jim was ready to show this crowd what a cyclone is, but with the track so slick the truck kept walking. A few revolutions then in to the rock pile a few more and in to the mud. He said forget this and went back to the vans for more big air to get his adrenalin pumpin. He landed the jump cut the wheel and stabbed the throttle. The truck started spinning and slid in to the rock pile again. Only this time he didn’t let up bouncing off the rocks the Avenger spun out to the center of the track. Where Jim held both hands out the windows as the truck picked up speed pulling off another 10 revolutions before ending his run.
Sunday afternoon Racing round one Metallic Mayhem vs. Rammunition. Metallic Mayhem giving the win to Rammunition. Next up Avenger vs. Predator. A close race but Jim in the Avenger pulled it off taking the win. Round two Avenger vs. Rammunition. Another really close race with Rammunition the winner. Next up Metallic Mayhem as fast loser vs. Grave Digger again close but Grave Digger won. Rammunition would beat Digger in the final.
Sunday Sunday Sunday its time for Freestyle. Chris in the Metallic Mayhem had suffer a broken rear drive shaft racing Digger, but was down to give the fans what he could with two wheel drive. He started with a nice jump off the racing lane. The vans would be more of a challenge but he made it. On to the back side of the cars where he hit‘em with some speed popping the front end straight up in the air when the dead weight of the rear tires hit, the front came down hard. That was it for Chris.
The last Freestyle of the weekend. The track crew put out another van stack between the racing lanes for Avenger and Grave Digger. Jim went right to it landing and pulling a slap wheelie that he would ride out down the track. Around to the wheelie hill where he pulled another one. Then a wicked sky wheelie off the cars. Over the racing lane and to the vans with some big air then to the cars with some sick air. Jim was fired up hitting the center van stack landing hard bouncing the truck up like a slap wheelie but on only one rear tire. There was a ton of dust on the track so he spun it around and broke into a cyclone. Dust was in the air now. He made slow a pass by the stands and waved, but he wasn’t done he just wanted the dust to settle. From there he back sided the roller hill and headed to the center van stack just airing it out. With his van hits getting higher and crazier each time he would make one more on the far van stack. Then around to the center one again. Good thing that freestyle at the Jamborees aren’t timed cause he went way over 90 second. Its was the baddest freestyle of the weekend, biggest air, fastest cyclones, wildest sky wheelies, and don’t forget the vertical slap wheelies. Jim really give Springfield a wild show.
Check out our Photos
page for some highlights taken by J.R. Gibbs. Plus Ross and Rejeana from The Monster Blog where there, taking pictures and videos. So log on to The Monster Blog
to see all the action for yourself…
--- April 26, 2006 ---
Monster Spectacular Montreal, Canada
This Weekend we headed up north to the Olympic Stadium in Montreal where Chris Arel Motorsports was host to the Monster Spectacular. It was a sold out house where close to 60 thousand fans came to see 14 monsters go head to head. The trucks on hand where Black Stallion, Iron Warrior, Godzilla, Bigfoot, Bounty Hunter, Iron Outlaw, Equalizer, Hot Tamale, Back Draft, Eradicator, Samson, Screamon Demon, and we had both Avenger and Brutus there. The show started off sweet with fire works and the top four trucks getting to do a little showin off during intros, just to get the crow pump up. Jim was one of the four and ripped off a couple donuts to start the show.
The track was a huge Chicago style course with very steep ramps. First round Jim in the Avenger vs. Mike Hawkins in the Equalizer. Jim and Mike are good friend and talk allot of trash back and forth to each other, so I knew this was going to be an awesome race. It started out close over the first set of cars and into the turn. Mike had about a truck on Jim over the second set and he gained more of a lead thru the last turn. Equalizer was running strong and took the win. Next up was Chris in the Brutus and Mike Vaters in the Black Stallion. Chris had a wild ride over the first set after pulling a wheelie off the line, and took the early lead thru the turn. He hit the second set with a ton of power sending the truck into the air landing just before the turning pole sending him way wide. While Mike in the Black Stallion staid nice and smooth thru that turn catching Chris and taking the lead and the win. I can’t for get to tell you about Frank Kreml one of Avengers first crew guys who has moved on and is now the driver of the Del Scorcho Monster Truck on the USHRA circuit. He was the hired gun driving Samson for Dan Patrick. First round he went up against Hot Tamale. It was close over the first and second set of cars. Then on the second set Frank in Samson noised over bad and blew out both front steering rams giving the win to the Hot Tamale. Frank and Dan trashed on the steering and got the truck ready for freestyle.
Round two Jim was brought back as the fast loser against Jimmy Creaton in Bounty Hunter. Avenger took the early lead over the first set of cars and around the turn as Jim looked over and saw he was beating Bounty Hunter (one of the fastest truck out there) he got excited. Jim should have kept his cool and ran a clean race but no Mr. Excitement took over mashing the throttle to the floor. He hit the second set of cars so fast it sent him sky high. I mean big air he landed so far past the turning pole he had to go around the big bus/ramp that was at the end of the track. Creaton caught up and took the lead quick and to make things worse when Jim landed the last jump the studs that hold on the champagne glass (the round part of the axle that the knuckle mounts to allowing the truck to turn) broke tearing the wheel off. Jim pulled back to the pits with the right rear tire just dragging behind the truck still attached only by the tie bar. Bounty Hunter went on to face Equalizer in the final round beating him by a truck length. That was it for racing and the Avenger We thrashed on the truck but the damage was nothing that could be fixed in the short time before freestyle.
Frank with Samson fixed and ready to go was ready to rock the Olympic Stadium. He started out strong hitting the buses and the big pyramids. Only to be cut short by the one piece rims on Samson. Frank took a hard hit and popped a tire off the bead, but you know he’s from the Avenger camp and a flat tire ain’t stopping him from putting on a show. He end his run with one of those high RPM donuts Samson is famous for.
It was up to Brutus now. Starting his freestyle with a Power Wheelie and then right around to the triple school bus stack. Where he jumped it, landing the front tires on the third bus and kind of slap wheelie/jumped that bus clearing the down ramp cars flat landing it on the concrete. Then over to the single van jumping it. Chris always does wheelies in racing but for some reason never hits them in freestyle so the fact that they where working made him go nuts one after another. He was doing combo setting down the wheelies and jumping the racing lanes. He said to me after the show “I was having so much fun with the wheelies I just couldn’t stop”. The damage to the truck was minimal, well maybe a little more than that but nothing we can’t fix. He ripped off the wheelie bar, tail gate and bedsides plus broke both rear limiting straps causing the shocks to hyper extend ripping the puck and valving from the shock shaves. The Avenger team has a little bit of work to do to get ready for the 4-Wheel Jamboree in Springfield, MO on the 6th and 7th of May. The Monster Spectacular was just that, a Spectacular show all around. Check out the awesome pictures by Andrew Palochko on our Photos
--- April 12, 2006 ---
4 Wheel Jamboree Fredericksburg, Texas
After the USHRA's World Finals we were headed straight to Texas for the 4 Wheel Jamboree. The Avenger was in pretty ruff shape 6 out of 8 shocks where bent along with 2 four links and the entire front half of the chassis was ripped off including the sway bar arms and shock brackets plus some other chassis damage to the cradle. We replaced the four links and rebuild the shocks on Avenger, and replace the bad knuckle on Brutus before we loaded the trucks in Vegas. With some major work still ahead of us we headed to Pablo Huffaker's shop Race Source. We arrived at Pablo’s Tuesday evening unloaded the trucks and got a game plan together for the next day. Wednesday morning Jim started cutting and grinding on his the front of his chassis, by that evening he had it lookin like new with the shock and sway bars back on. Leaving all day Thursday for the cradle and anything else we could find wrong. Everything went right on schedule Pablo has a sweet set up, all the tools we needed and more. For lunch he took us to the local dinner Mel's home of the Mega Mel Bacon Cheese Burger. This thing was giant one and a half pounds of beef a pound of bacon and a quarter pound of cheese. If you could finish it with in 2 hours you got your name on the wall with your picture. Chris was all about it he though he would do it no problem; well about a quarter of the way in to it he was ready to give up. He knew if he did he would never be able to live it down so he kept on eating. After about the first hour Pablo and Tina had to get back to work and left us to make sure Chris cleaned his plate. It took 90 mins. to do it but he did. While he was eating we were read off all the names on the wall and noticed the name Elder over and over again there must have been at least 20 Elders on that wall. We don't know the Elder family but we know their big eaters so in honor of them "Elder Brutus" was the name he put on the wall. Back to work we went tying up all lose ends and loading the trucks. Only a few hours from Fredericksburg we hit the road.
Special thanks to Pablo and Tina for all their hospitality and help…
This was the only second year for the Jamboree in Fredericksburg and man was the turn out awesome tons of custom lifts and wild paint. Saturday was race day for us with a show in the after noon and another in the evening. The Avenger was running sweet till its first racing pass against Predator. When a drive shaft cut loose and the transmission’s housing shattered taking Jim out of the after noon show. Chris Unveiling the new Special Events 25th Anniversary Body “Metallic Mayhem” ran hard against Raminator but the truck took a weird bounce after the first set of cars causing it to loosing traction. While the Raminator stuck to the ground and took the win. With Jim out Chris knew it was his job to give the fans something extra in freestyle, and you know he did with some big air, sky wheelies, and even a few slap wheels. Metallic Mayhem had the crowd on its feet. Chris ended his freestyle with a huge hit off the van stack tweaking the bottom left four link and breaking the rear drive shaft leavening us two broke trucks and only a few hours till the evening show. Chris, Rich and Lindsey thrashed on the Mayhem truck and Jim, Jeff and I (Steve) ripped in to the Avenger. With no time to spare we had both trucks ready to go for the evening show.
First round Metallic Mayhem vs. Avenger. Chris with the fast react time was first off the line getting the early lead. Jim was fast on his tail making up ground as the track went on, but the finish line comes quick in straight-line racing. It was Chris by a tire, with a win over his best friend and biggest competitor Chris was ready to rock the house in Freestyle, out of the gates strong. He proceeded to hit all the obstacles when his return to center stuck. Putting the truck into a crab walk. He hit the van stack sideways hoping it would center up, but it didn’t. Knowing there was an afternoon show on Sunday he waved to the crowd and parked it. The Avenger was up next. After missing his chance to freestyle earlier and getting beat by Chris. Mr. Excitement was on kill right to the van stack he went clearing it and on to the next. Where he really skyed it. The RII (remote ignition interrupt) killed the truck as it landed. Leaving Jim with no power in the middle of the track. This was not his day and he way gonna get his aggression out on way or another. Finally the truck fired and off he went. Hammer down and no cares he blasted the vans again pulling a slap wheelie on his landing. Then to the wheelie hill where he stood on the throttle and the truck stood on its bumper dragging it across the track. Now it was donut time, time for that out of control crazy cyclone he didn’t get to do in Vegas. Well not really he cut the wheel hoping the truck would cut loose and over it went. It was the first Rollover ever at the Fredericksburg Jamboree. The body was wasted but the rest of the truck was fine and ready for Sunday. The Metallic Mayhem was in need of some work not only the return to center but when the drive shaft broke earlier it cause damage to the 3rd member’s pinion bearing. Fixing the problem would require pulling the planetary hubs off both side and removing the axle shafts allowing the center chunk to drop out. Luckily we had a spare in the trailer, it bolted right in and everything went back together sweet. Giving us a little time to chill out and BBQ.
Sunday Round one Avenger vs. Raminator a very close race with the Raminator taking it by a hair. The Metallic Mayhem would run solo having the by run. Only to discover there was a problem with the locker. The truck was only pulling with the right rear, sending the truck sideways out of its lane. Where is the Gun Slinger when you need him? Anyway the problem wouldn’t keep Chris from freestyle. He had a nice clean run. Things didn’t get crazy till Jim came out and put on an awesome Freestyle. The body was trashed from Saturdays rollover just making the run look even wilder. With every huge jump pieces of the body where tearing off. Its was big air, out of control landings, mad bumper draggin slap wheelies, and yes finally the cyclone. Jim was on fire showing the crowd what freestyle is all about. His run ended when the hood mounts gave way flipping the hood up over the windshield blocking his vision.
Check out our Photos
page to see newly added pictures of Sundays show taken by Cory Schwab.
Also check out The Monster Blog
and there coverage of event.
For more info on the 4 Wheel Jamborees link to Special Events
--- April 4, 2006 ---
2006 Monster Jam World Finals 7
The 36 hour road trip to Vegas is a long one. Lots of highway and not much to do. Luckily Rich brought a stack of movies for us to watch and watch them we did one after another. The road conditions were good till we hit Nebraska where it started to snow. About half way in to the state we stopped for fuel and saw that the truck stop was full. Highway 80 got hammered and was closed down a few miles from the truck stop. All those trucks were just waiting it out. It was 11:30 and the road wasn't gonna open till 3. We decided to push on and run the back roads till the high way opened back up. Well it sounded like a good idea cause the skies were clear and the sun was out. The back roads were covered with thick ice and made the ride slow and bumpy. After a few hours of that the highway opened back up. It was in ok shape a little slick but not bad. We were back up to speed in no time traffic was thick but moving good. Riding behind a couple of other semis. Suddenly the trucks in front of us split and we saw that one of the semi's in front of us had flipped up a head the traffic was stopped dead. Chris did every thing he could do to prevent crashing cutting hard to the right and missing a stopped truck trailer by inches he cut onto the shoulder and it was slick. We were moving so fast our hauler went sliding off the road into the ditch. Luckily it was not that bad we didn't go over and everyone was OK "Thank GOD". We were stuck bad though. Luckily the police were out in force and had a wrecker named "BIG HOOK" there in no time. They pulled us and another truck out, and then flipped the other back to his tires. After thanking Officer Allen and BIG HOOK's driver we were back on the road. Headed to the city of lights. The rest of the trip was uneventful. Until Wednesday when we pulled into Sam Boyd’s parking lot and started to unload.
With a 24 truck field and a ton of display trucks. There were monsters every where. After getting mixed reactions about the Orange and the Split bodies of years past Jim was a little nervous about if people would dig the 2006 World Finals Avenger Body. But once we pulled it of the trailer and that desert sun hit the Chrome Avenger he knew the fans would be with him. That’s right we had SNS Chrome
, chrome the entire body then added the skulls and flames like normal. People were blown away asking all kinds of questions. "Is that Chrome?", "How did you do that?", "Is that metal or fiberglass?", "Is it real?" just all kinds of questions. It seemed like everyone who passed by had to stop and check it out even Boyd Coddington from American Hot Rod and his crew stopped by to check it out.
Thursday started early with a group photo shoot in the desert behind the stadium. All 24 trucks and drivers shined up and lined up for one last picture before the carnage began. That night we ran thru a kind of dress reversal of the show's intros, man was that cool the house lights dimmed and all the trucks on the floor at once with there motors revving. WOW!!! That’s like 36,000 horse power. It was totally awesome they had red strobes flashing. Which really made the graphics on the chrome body stand out not to mention the green head lights glowing. It was going to be the biggest baddest Monster Jam ever.
Friday was the Double Down BBQ in the after noon. This is where we get to meet and spend time with some of our most dedicated fans about 5,000 of them. Then after the BBQ they get to watch Qualifying. This is when each truck gets a chance to make a practice run in each lane to get a feel for the track then a timed run in the lane they drew earlier. Brendon drew 12 for Jim and Joey drew 18 for Chris putting them both in the right lane. Jim ran hard but the truck didn't have the power it should have. Chris hit 65 mph one of the fastest speeds of the night but pushed it a little wide in the turn. Both trucks qualified in the middle of the pack. With the big day right around the corner we went to work on the trucks knowing the middle of the pack isn't gonna hold up at the world finals. We changed Avenger's plugs and wire hoping to get some more power out of her and Chris dropped the oil pan on Brutus and checked all the bearings hopeing not to have a repeat of Ford Field. Everything looked good and the trucks were ready.
Saturday, race day started early washing the trucks for the pit party. Both trucks looked sweet and were as ready as they where gonna be for the nights events. The party in the pits went great Jim and Chris signed a ton of autographs and took a ton of pictures with you fans. All of us had an awesome time meeting and talking with fans from all over the county. After the pit party we had a few hours to check over the trucks, checking tires and shock pressures and topping off all the fluids and fuel .The brackets were set ROUND ONE: Brutus vs. Maximum Destruction and Avenger vs. El Toro Loco. First up from our camp was Chris in Brutus with lane choice over Tom in Max D. Chris took the right lane and ran hard just flying thought Thunder Alley and down the straight away. Pushing it too far into the last turn he went wide while Tom cut it tight and took the win. Next was Jim's turn, and El Toro had lane choice putting Jim in the left lane. The motor in the Avenger was running strong after that tune up. Jim was strong off the line, through thunder alley, and down the straight away. He hit the turn a little wide but had good speed until the rear steer hung up forcing him to let up and straighten up before the last jump giving the win to El Toro. That was it for our team in racing but you know what comes next FREESTYLE!!!!
Brutus was sent out 9th with some wicked runs already laid down and Frank Kremel in the hot seat with a 29. Chris went big right out the gate skying it off the garbage truck. Then around to car pyramid with more big air. Next up was the rock pile, Chris hammered down and launched that big dog in the air and getting mad hang time. Brutus landed hard breaking off all the spindle bolts on the right rear. Three tires still rolling Chris didn’t let up snuffing the dog into the school busses. When I say snuffing I mean that was it he was stuck he tried forward, reverse just revving the motor but it was no good he was planted. The judges only gave him a 10 a little ruff but with only four hits and a ton of time on the clock what can you do.
Destruction Avenger was set to go out 16th which had Jim pretty upset, coming off his best season to date and being a past champion he felt he should have been closer to the end. Past Champions should end the show right? Avenger, El Toro, Max D, Bounty Hunter should have been the order. Oh well Jim was mad but knew if he gave it his all and that old Avenger held up, you fans would be happy and that was all that matters. The chrome was shine'n as the 57 Chevy hit the field and went right after the car pyramids. Big air on the first set and even bigger on the second pulling an upper four link out on the landing. Even with a broken four link Jim lined up with the rock pile and blasted it sending the truck into the air. The most extreme air I've ever seen off that pile. It launched crazy doing a quark screw in the air and landing upside down on its hood flipping completely over and landing back on its wheels. The USHRA officials had shut him down. Jim was ready to fire back up and continue, he wanted to end his freestyle with an out of control insane cyclone. The officials said the damage to the truck was extreme and for safety reasons the Avenger's run was done. The truck might have been done but Jim wasn't. He was all fired up and needed to cool off. A quick walk around the pond to get the crowd going and in he went with a back flip. The crowd went nuts and so did Jim diving in a second time. Dripping wet Jim made his way to the drivers lounge to watch the rest of the show. Maximum won the Championship with a wicked display of sick air. He even jumped his own truck parked in the pond on top of the rock pile.
The 2006 Monster Jam World Finals was over and the Champions were crowned Dennis Anderson in Racing and Tom Meents in Freestyle. We may not have won the show but we were there and we had allot of fun. Sunday was the Monster Jam Awards Banquet which is always a good time. They recap the year with some awesome videos and awards presentation. Both Avenger and Brutus were nominated for a bunch of awards like the Crash Madness, Most Extreme Air, and Freestyle of the Year. Jim won the Most Extreme Air Award for his freestyle in Indianapolis. Then to make things even better We won the Team of the Year Award and were given a new team name "TEAM SCREAM". I guess with a captain named Mr. Excitement it kind of fits, and beside what better place to get loud then Monster Jam!!!!!!!
--- March 19, 2006 ---
Mr. Excitement's 1st Quarter Review "The Road To Vegas"
The way to Vegas was my mission from the beginning. It's all about getting the trucks ready for Vegas. From the first show to the last, everything revolves around making it to the World Finals. All the shows are like practice. A test track at every event to see if the truck can take it.
Our season started in Montreal, with a roll over racing against Brutus. It only left me with freestyle. I went out for big air and a wild ride. I got what I wanted but in the end I lost a tire and rolled over. I think the crowd enjoyed it because I had fun. Next we went to the last show at Pontiac Silver dome, all out fun, but another tire leaves the truck. Wow what is going on with my truck. Next was Atlanta, GA. all I can say is awesome. I had a blast, even after seeing Brutus roll wildly out of control. After my freestyle Brutus and I were tied. Tom Meents ended up winning, but second isn't so bad. Then we went to Toronto. That show could not have went better, two days of wild action with no major breakage. Then off to Indy, lots of fun with lots of action. Freestyle started off wild and ended early with the loss of two rear tires. What the heck is going on, at this rate I will be out of parts before we get to Vegas.
Changes needed to be made, parts needed to be made stronger. The loss of tires was due to bad bolts. I decided to go with bigger and better bolts. Then off to Thunder Nationals Rockford, Ill. Man that was fun and on Friday I got to rip off a great donut. This made me make some decisions about the truck. After a good weekend there we went to Roanoke, VA., It was fun there trading paint and bumps with Tom Meents and his boys. So far the season has been great with the best team we ever had. The whole team gets along and we are having lots of fun. Steve, Jeff, Rich, and Lindsey keep the trucks up to specks so we don't have to worry about them. Then off to Minneapolis, MN. Now that's what I am talking about with a racing win over Brutus. Then a close race losing to Digger. I got to come back as a fast loser and had to race Digger again. I knew I had to turn it up. I was giving it all I had when in the second turn the truck went on two wheels. While trying to save it, I saw Dennis pass me, once I made it to my tires I chased him down, I knew I had already lost but I had to finish my run. The crowd went nuts over the save and the fact that I finished my racing pass. What a prep for freestyle, man was I pumped. I had a blast while jumping, flying, saving, and crashing my truck. I didn't win the freestyle, but had a wild time. In the end the fans were happy and I had a lot of work to do.
After tearing out my front axle in Minn., I had a lot of work to get the truck ready for Jacksonville, FL. I was ready to go, both Avenger and Brutus were ready. We had made a lot of parts and extra bodies so the Avenger family could go to Disney for a much needed family vacation. The team came together and we made it happen. With a disappointing first round race loosing to Madusa. I had her beat until I pushed it to hard in the last turn and threw it away. I was very disappointed with that but I knew freestyle was left. I needed motivation, so Mt. Dew and cotton candy was my choice. I went into freestyle with a vengeance. I was getting big air and crazy saves, I ended with a role over that put me back on my tires. The score was good but with more trucks left it might not hold up. Well it did all the other trucks had good runs, but not enough to win. Digger gave an awesome freestyle only after his 90 seconds were up. We won Jacksonville with minor damage. I went to Disney and had a great time with my wife and kids. The crew went back home with the trucks and got them ready for Ford Field.
At Ford Field, we discovered Brutus had bearing problems which ended up (even after a valiant effort) to take him out of the program. It was disappointing for Chris in our home town. I had some new parts to try out. These parts would help make a donut become a cyclone. I centered my freestyle around a donut that didn't work out, because of a little rock that getting into my fuel injection and robbing the motor of power I needed to pull off a wicked cyclone. I did have some big air jumps and lasted the full 90 seconds before rolling over.
One show left before Vegas, Grand Rapids, MI. I could test my cyclones there at the Thunder Nationals. Test them we did, with a donut win at all four shows I was on fire. I also pulled off a racing and wheelie contest win. Second only by score in freestyle to Digger every show. The final show at the end of my freestyle I decided to go for a record cyclone with 28 revolutions. I think I did it. Now I have to motivation I need for Vegas. Twenty-four of the best trucks in the world, man that's going to be a wild and tough show. I feel I am ready and the truck is too. With a few new tricks we did to the trucks. We are going to leave a mark in Vegas no matter what happens… And don’t miss out on the unveiling of the World Finals 7 AVENGER BODY its like nothing you’ve ever seen on a monster truck….
2006 MONSTER JAM WORLD FINALS IS GONNA BE AWESOME!!!!
--- March 6, 2006 ---
WOW what a weekend in Detroit!!!
Saturday’s Monster Jam was wicked… Ford Field is every bit as big as the Silver Dome was and that meant the track would be fast and the air would be huge. Speed channel had cameras everywhere even in the roof for the birds eye view. Avenger and Brutus both laid down strong qualifying times putting them in the middle of the bracket. Round One Brutus vs. Superman and Avenger vs. Blue Thunder. Brutus had lost oil pressure in the middle of his qualifying pass. So we went to work trying to find the problem and see how bad the damages was. Well it wasn’t pretty lots of metal in the prescreens and filter. The lack of oil pressure cause friction on the crank chewing up the bearings. Not having time to change them we just changed the oil and went in to round one. Brutus started out strong lifting the front tires off the line and good air off the first two sets of cars, as he went in to the second turn the motor started losing power as smoke poured out the headers. He hit the last set easy and parked head first in the pits with the temp gauge pegged and the motor making all kinds of bad noises. He knew the big dog was done for the night. Grave Digger had oil pump problems too putting him on the trailer for the night. Avenger on the other hand was on fire head to head with Blue Thunder Chevy vs. Ford it was a tight race with Jim getting crossed up in the last turn giving Tony the win… Oh well…
Freestyle was next and Jim was on point. He started with a slow paraded lap giving his home town fans one last good look a truck in one piece J. From there it was nothing but Huge Air clearing one pyramids after another then wanting to change it up a little he ripped into a donut. Then back in the air over a few more stacks filling his ninety seconds and then some. His run got faster and bigger as it went on only to be stopped by the song of fiberglass breaking. Jim push the truck to fast into the turn and over he went… 16 was his score. Man those judges were ruff. 16 come on… Oh well… Whether you were there or when you see it on Speed I think all you Avenger fans will agree. Jim Koehler knows how to get a little WIIIIIIIIIIIILLLLLLLLD!!! For picture and more about this weekends show check out: USHRA
--- March 2, 2006 ---
First ever MONSTER JAM in the heart of the Motor City.
The USHRA has a world finals line up scheduled to rock Ford Field. Including AVENGER, BRUTUS, Grave Digger, Maximum Destruction, Bob & Tom, Bounty Hunter, Iron Outlaw, Air Force, Madusa, Superman, Blue Thunder, Devastator and the all new 106.7 The Drive Monster Truck. Check out USHRA
for more info. Speed Channel’s camera will be there in full force so bring you Avenger/Brutus banner and hold them high….
On Thursday, March 2nd and Friday, March 3rd, the Avenger and Brutus will roll into center court at Oakland Mall
. The trucks will be accompanied by the driver each day from 5 - 7 PM. There will be prizes and giveaways that include a chance to win VIP tickets and the opportunity for one person to be a judge during the freestyle portion of Monster Jam.
--- Febuary 22, 2006 ---
Finally an update to our site.
All apologies to our fans that come to the site week after week only to see the same thing.
It's been a crazy past couple years as the trucks have grown in popularity. Both Avenger and Brutus do shows every weekend leaving only a couple days thru the week to get them ready for the next show.
We did over 40 shows last year all over the U.S. and Canada. And you know Jim and Chris aren’t easy on the trucks. You Fans get them so pumped up from all your support they give 125% at every show pushing the trucks to new limits. One of Jims favorite lines are "It's only parts" because no matter how bad their broke he can fix‘em. I don’t mean just unbolting the broken part and putting on a new one. If a part isn't holding up he rethinks and redesigns that part bigger and stronger so it can handle the big air and hard hits we all want to see.
Spindles are one of the weak points that a lot of trucks break causing the wheels to break off. Jim did some research and came up with a spindles design almost an inch thicker than the stock ones are. After putting the prototypes on both trucks the new spindles tested awesome, opening the door to the next weak link the bolts that hold them on. So Jim decided to start work on a plan for custom knuckles made with stronger material that wont flex or distort like the stock ones do and would also incorporate bigger bolts to hold on the bigger spindles. The fact that a part that complex would take time to finish hasn’t slowed the boys down one bit.
2006 has started off to be the wildest year to date with a ton of show on the schedule and a ton of sleepless nights fixing the trucks between shows. The nice part is our crew has grown. Jeff Anderson (formally part of the Rap Attack Team), Rich Hilgendorf, and his daughter Lindsey have been really put in a ton of hour helping out. "Thanks for being part of the team". Also thanks to some of our other help that make it out when they can Matt, Chris, Gordy, Roman, Jim, Tom, Dave, and Rachel. With all the extra help at the shop I'll have more time to keep the site up to date and return e-mails.
You can also check out these Monster Truck sites for all the latest news
The Monster Blog
And Don’t forget about the good old Television.
hosts Monster Jam twice weekly, featuring all the USHRA‘s top stars including Avenger and Brutus.--
--National Geographic Channel’s
THRILL ZONE did a special called Monster Truck Tech a detailed look at monster trucks including interviews with Jim and some of his Crazy Freestyle from the Vermont 4x4 Jamborees.--
Xtreme 4x4 caught a Wicked Crash by the Avenger at the Indy 4x4 Jamboree.--
-- ESPN 2
also had there cameras at the Jamborees.--
SO STAY TUNED AND STAY WILLLLLLDDDDDD!!!!