Theresa Ward and husband Gus

Theresa Ward and husband Gus campaign the Pro Outlaw boat "Whiskey Tango Foxtrot" on the Lucas Oil Drag Boat Racing Series. (Marsha Roberts Waz photo).

Wheatland, Missouri (September 10, 2018) - After a week to reflect on her first career Lucas Oil Drag Boat Racing Series win, Theresa Ward says she remains on cloud nine.

The Sonora, Texas driver, who shares driving duties in the Pro Outlaw boat "Whiskey Tango Foxtrot" with husband Gus Ward, nipped reigning series champion Shannon Beal in a thrilling finals run at the 8th annual Diamond Drag Boat Nationals in Wheatland, Missouri.

"It meant the world to me," said Theresa Ward, who's had numerous runner-up finishes over the years. How many? She doesn't know for sure, laughing that, "I wish I could count them."

Theresa Ward

Theresa Ward picked up the win at the recent Diamond Drag Boat Nationals at Lucas Oil Speedway in Wheatland, Mo. (Marsha Roberts Waz photo).

Ward ran a 5.3404 ET at a speed of 167.411 miles per hour to beat Beal's 5.3207 at 167.3755. The difference was an almost-perfect reaction time at the start for Ward, a .0063.

The Wards are one of the unique duos in the sport, married for 14 years and with a hobby of skipping over the water in excess of 165 miles per hour. They combined to runner-up in the series points standings in 2016 while Gus, before the two married, won a Top Alcohol Hydro title in 2006 in the IHBA Series.

"We built this boat so we could both share," Theresa Ward said, joking that "the only problem is that Gus usually drives it more than I do. But that's OK."

"I was supposed to drive the San Angelo race because Gus had recently had a hip replacement two months before San Angelo," she added. "He made it his goal to get into the boat after the surgery and he was able to get into it and ended up winning the San Angelo race. So I think he thought that Wheatland was my turn."

Theresa Ward said he began racing boats "on a dare" before she and Gus were married.

"I had a little hot rod jet boat that I would take my kids down to the lake and cruise around and had a blast," she said. "An acquaintance told me about a race coming to Lake Conroe and convinced me to enter the race. We took the little jet boat, make one pass in River Racer qualifying and ... I was hooked.

"I ended up selling my Lincoln Navigator and bought a beat-up pick-up truck, bought a Modified Eliminator jet boat and just kept going from there."

Along the way, Theresa and Gus got married, combined forced on the Pro Mod and - while Gus won races - Theresa has a lot of near-wins. She had driven the current boat at Wheatland in 2017 and took plenty of confidence with her back to "Lake Lucas" this time around.

"I've always known that we have a great boat," Theresa Ward said. "My husband and I and my brother-in-law built this boat. We got a bare hull and put it all together, every single piece. I knew it was a good boat and I knew that my husband can tune. It was just my job not to screw it up."

But beating Beal, the reigning champ, was another story. Ward said she figured her best chance would beat to gamble on the start. The .0063 reaction time was flawless.

"I knew that he was going to cut a light on me and he was more than capable of running right on the number," Ward said. "So I took a chance. I almost red-lit. You might say that was a red light that didn't get caught - but I knew that I had to push the tree to run against him."

Next up for the Lucas Oil Drag Boat Racing Series is Thunder on the River, Oct. 13-14 in Parker, Arizona. The Lucas Oil World Finals then wrap up the season, Nov. 2-4 in Chandler, Arizona

Dan Robinson
Lucas Oil Speedway General Manager
Office: (417) 282-5984

Television Schedule

Sunday, March 3
8:00 PM
- Wheatland, MO