View Full Version : ROGER AVANTS - The Two Minute Interview

Jerry Lee
07-07-2009, 09:17 AM
Late Model multi-champion and local racing legend Roger Avants still thrills the masses at Colorado National Speedway on Saturday nights during the summer months. So many generations have grown up watching Roger race that some may not remember that he really cut his teeth wheeling Figure 8's at Englewood Speedway during the '70's.

I'm dedicating this Two Minute Interview to my Mom who has been a long time R.A. fan since I can remember. Here's a 1997 chat with the one they call "The Ice Man".


JL: "I understand your debut in racing in 1971 at Englewood didn't go so well."

RA: "I raced for two weeks in the Figure 8's and the second week I got hit in the X. That was actually my beginning and end for that year."

JL: "And apparently that didn't spook you."

RA: "No, I was back in '72 and ran every year since."

JL: "Did you have it in your mind when you started that you wanted to move up through the ranks?"

RA: "Yeah, the Modifieds were the top division at the time and that's what I wanted to do. I bought a Modified from Harold Evans and the motor blew up the first night. That was my entire career as far as Modifieds went."

JL: "And then it was back to the Figure 8's where you seemed to end up on your roof a lot!"

RA: "That was mostly in '75 where we just kept breaking parts. Once I was running a trophy dash and Tim Hopkins was leading, I was second, and Junior Reeder was third. When we came off the corner for the finish, I flipped my car right in between them and crossed the line for second on my head! The axel broke. Don Styes was waving the flag running! (laughs) And that was just the trophy dash."

JL: "Do you think all your years running the 8 has helped you any in driving a Late Model on the oval?"

RA: "I honestly think that a Figure 8 driver has a better eye for paying attention as far as what's going on in front of your car. I think that helped a lot because I can drive on the oval and be going into 3, and know what's going on in turn 4. A lot of people driving today have no idea what's going on in the corners, and it obviously shows up once in awhile."

JL: "Do you miss driving the 8 at all?"

RA: "Naw, y'know the Figure 8 division back then was a lot different than it is now. Myself and Richard Burton actually stand up there and shake our heads and say 'Wow, I'm glad we didn't start now!'."


Olen McGuire
07-07-2009, 09:30 AM
Here's some pics and comments by Jerry Lee:

(Roger Avants collection) Roger’s father Walter Avants (standing) had
many drivers for the Stockers and Modifieds he built in the ‘50’s and ‘60’s
at Englewood. Here’s Walter’s Modified for the 1964 season. Note Joe
Lehman leaning against his #6 car in the background. ---Jerry Lee

(Roger Avants collection) A very young Roger Avants can be seen at
the far right pitting for brother Larry (second from left) with their
Figure 8 from 1968. --–Jerry Lee

(Roger Avants collection) Roger Avants #174 slides rubber side up during
1972 Figure 8 action at Englewood Speedway in front of a packed house.
Check out Dave Sigrist in #8 trying to muscle that ol’ ’56 Mercury into
the straight. ---Jerry Lee

07-07-2009, 06:32 PM
I remember Roger when the Wyoming guys brought their Super modifieds to Englewood Speedway. I pitted for Glen Sterling. I also saw Roger at Manzanita Speedway in Phoenix,Arizona at one of the events there not long ago. As I live in Mesa, Arizona now.
Sad that Manzanita Speedway closed. It was the fastest dirt track in the west....
But THANKS Roger for the memories of that wild figure 8 racing...

07-29-2009, 03:24 PM
I do promotional work for CNS and I get to see Roger every Saturday night in his #27 Late Model and Pro Truck. Roger can still get it done, he recently won the Pro Truck feature event and almost always finishes in the top 5 in a VERY competitive late model division.

Roger is a true "throw-back" and it's neat that guys like him still compete.

Olen McGuire
08-03-2009, 03:42 PM
Here are some more pics and comments from Jerry Lee
(Sorry for the poor quality of the pics.)

(Roger Avants collection) Roger Avants’ initiation into racing at Englewood
was a hard smack at the X in only his second week of the 1971 season. –J.L.

(Roger Avants collection) Roger Avants slides on his roof across the start/finish line to take
second place during a Figure 8 trophy dash at Englewood in 1974. Check out flagman Don Styes
running for his life on the far right. –J.L.

(Roger Avants collection) Durwin Cody drove Roger’s back-up car in 1974. Cody in the #174
ran the X on Roger one night totaling both cars. Roger said he took the front half of this car and
the back half of his #74 to make one car to finish the season with. –J.L.

Jerry Lee
03-23-2010, 12:31 PM
(Roger Avants collection) Once team mate Chuck Jarman had moved on to Late Models in
1974, Roger Avants took over the #74 Figure Eighter. Roger drove the #174 from ’71
through ’73.

(Photo by Jerry Lee McGuire) I snapped this pic of Roger and his Late Model at a car
show in 2009.

Jerry Lee
06-29-2012, 01:01 PM
(Roger Avants collection) Here's a little bit better quality scan of Roger's first
induction into Figure 8 racing in 1971.

(Roger Avants collection) Roger's first full season in 1972 was in this "Panther Pink"
twin Figure Eighter to Chuck Jarman's #74. Cool shot as Roger lifts the left front and the
right rear off the asphalt!

Jerry Lee
06-29-2012, 05:29 PM
(Joe Starr Photo/BigWestRacing.com) Here's Roger Avants still collecting trophies. This was
just last Saturday night as Roger won the Pro Truck Fast Dash at Colorado National.