Will Power pulls out of Rolex 24 debut due to wife Liz's health complications

Nathan Brown
Indianapolis Star

Hoping to add a career-first to his resume after his second IndyCar title in 2022, Will Power has put his Rolex 24 at Daytona debut on hold to be with his wife, Liz, as she recovers from complications stemming from a recent surgery.

Power was recently announced as the headliner of Kenny Habul's GTD-class SunEnergy1 Mercedes AMG GT3 entry -- the last car admitted onto the 61-car grid -- and would've been scheduled to hit the track later this week in the Roar Before The Rolex 24 three-day test session that kicks off Friday. But with his wife still in the hospital, Power announced in a release Tuesday night that he plans to forgo his Rolex debut with fellow Australian and longtime friend Habul to remain with Liz, who's still hospitalized, and their son Beau.

Team Penske driver Will Power (12) celebrates with his wife Liz after winning the Big Machine Spiked Coolers Grand Prix on Saturday, Aug. 14, 2021, at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Across his IndyCar career, Liz has been an ever-present supporter of Power's who, he said after his title-winning campaign a year ago, spoke his second championship into existence well before the 2022 season began.

Liz Power on husband's '22 title:'Knew he'd be back ... didn't know it'd be this long'

"Liz has had a couple complications after surgery this week and has a long recovery ahead of her," Power, who will be replaced by Luca Stolz to race alongside Habul, Fabian Schiller and Axcil Jeffries, said in a release. "Obviously, her health is my priority, and unfortunately, that means I have to put Daytona on hold.

"I have to thank Kenny for the opportunity and his total understanding of our situation and the support he has shown. I will be cheering them on rom North Carolina, and hopefully, we get another opportunity to do something together in the future."

Habul, a businessman and racer who works as the CEO of SunEnergy1, raced Formula Fords in the '90s against Power.

"In these situations, it really goes without saying, the family comes first," Habul said in the release. "The first priority is Liz and her health, and we wish her the fastest recovery possible. Given our history racing against each other all those years ago, it was going to be cool to drive with Will at Daytona, but I'm sure there will be plenty of opportunities for us to team up in the future."

Despite Power's absence, IndyCar will be well-represented at Daytona, featuring Scott Dixon (Ganassi Cadillac), Colton Herta (Rahal Letterman Lanigan BMW) and Helio Castroneves and Simon Pagenaud (both Meyer Shank Racing Acura) in the top-level GTP class. Scott McLaughlin and Josef Newgarden will share Tower Motorsports' LMP2 entry, competing against Rinus VeeKay (TDS Racing) and Devlin DeFrancesco (Rick Ware Racing). Kyle Kirkwood will also be competing in GTD (Vasser Sullivan Lexus), and Romain Grosjean will contest the race in GTD-Pro (Iron Lynx Lamborghini).

Power is scheduled to take the track next at IndyCar's preseason open test at the Thermal Club Feb. 2-3.