Diez commandeers boat to win: BHC resident victorious at Craig Partusch Memorial Showdown
BULLHEAD CITY — Bullhead City resident Bill Diez won the 11th annual Craig Partusch Memorial Showdown at the San Angelo Drag Boat race, which was held off the banks of Lake Nasworthy from June 23-25.
His racing boat, which was built in the late 1980s, is named War Party Honoring Jerry Davis and owned by his wife Nancy Davis from Montgomery, Texas.
“Her husband used to race this boat,” Diez said. “Then he got diagnosed with pancreatic cancer during early 2009.
“He raced the boat during the whole 2009 season and then he passed away from the cancer at the beginning of 2010.
“So, they basically parked the boat for a few years then we got together and decided to put together a team and go race it.
“We race it in honor of Jerry and his legacy.”
Diez said he used to race against Jerry Davis years ago, which was how he became friends with Nancy Davis.
This was Diez and the War Party Honoring Jerry Davis team’s first victory in the Lucas Oil Dragboat Racing Series.
“Me and my team were basically flipping out after winning the race,” Diez said. “The reason we are racing this boat is for Nancy and her husband Jerry’s legacy, so that made us even prouder.”
Diez races in the Lucas Oil Dragboat Racing Series, which holds 11 national events across the USA from Arizona to Georgia per year.
His boat is a Honda and runs in the Top Alcohol Propeller-Driver Flatbottom Classification, and is a 3,000 horsepower Miner Bros Hemi-engine burning racing methanol for fuel.
Diez’s boat is in the fastest class in the series for the flatbottom-style boats.
These boats will run a 1,000-foot drag race in under 51/2 seconds at around 160 mph.
“Depending on where we’re at, the boat will go anywhere from 145 mph to 165 mph,” Diez said. “It’s a 1,000-foot race track, so it’s a drag race.”
No turning, it is straight-line racing, he added.
Diez and War Party Honoring Jerry Davis are currently ranked No. 2 in the national points series.
Diez said he and his crew compete in 11 races per year, and they are all fresh-water races as of now.
“It’s essentially the water equivalent of the NHRA drag racing,” Diez said.
War Party Honoring Jerry Davis placed second in Phoenix earlier this season.
Diez said he has sponsors, which helps him support the operation.
“About 60 percent (of operating costs) comes from what the boat wins and what we get for outside help,” he added.
“Each event has its own purse.”
Diez was not exactly sure what the first-place purse was after winning the San Angelo race, but he said, “I think it was about $6,000.”
The 11-year Bullhead City resident said he drives the boat, built the engine and propellers and does most of the maintenance on it with the team.
The team is comprised of Dale Murray, transport driver/boat crew; Nancy Stacks, logistics/catering; Kevin Niediek, underwater guy/boat crew; Wayne Shaddix, trailer/boat crew; Nancy Davis, boat owner/tuner; and Strait Stacks, pit crew.
“We tune it inhouse,” Diez said. “We don’t have outside engine builder or outside builder. We do it on our own.”
Diez said he has been racing in this classification since 2004. “We ended up ranked fifth last year,” he added, “which was the first year we competed with this boat and it was our first shot at hitting the whole national tour.”
When he was asked if he practiced his boat on the Colorado River of Lake Mohave, Diez said, “Oh no. Those boats are built for the purpose of racing only, so there is really no practice involved in it.
“You’ve just got to go to the race track. Like I said, it’s similar to NHRA racing, where you have qualifying days, so we qualify on Friday and Saturday and then Sunday is our elimination.”
Bullhead City resident Tim Hull, who does promotion and design work for War Party Honoring Jerry Davis, has been racing with Diez for years.
The Lucas Oil Boat Racing Series is scheduled to make a stop near the Tri-state when it comes to Parker, Ariz., for “Racing on the River” from Oct. 13-15.
Unquoted informaton courtesy of Diez.