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Will Power withdraws from Rolex 24 debut to care for wife Liz after surgery complications

Calvin Fish and Nate Ryan preview the 61st IMSA Rolex 24 at Daytona International Speedway.

Will Power has postponed his Rolex 24 at Daytona debut, withdrawing from the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season opener while his wife, Liz, recovers from complications after surgery.

Power, who won his second NTT IndyCar Series championship last season, had been announced last week as a driver in the lineup of the SunEnergy1 Racing Team’s Mercedes-AMG GT3 (the last entry in the 61-car field), teaming with fellow Australian and longtime friend Kenny Habul for the Jan. 28-29 race.

But with Liz Power remaining hospitalized after surgery, Will Power elected to pull out of the race. He will be replaced by Luca Stolz, who will join Habul, Fabian Schiller and Axcil Jeffries in the GTD class.

“Liz has had a couple of complications after surgery this week and has a long recovery ahead of her,” Power said in a release. “Obviously her health is my priority, and unfortunately, that means I have had to put Daytona on hold.”

The couple has weathered some health setbacks together in the past. Will Power fractured his back in crashes at Sonoma in 2009 and Las Vegas in 2011. After the birth of their son, Beau, in December 2016, Liz experienced complications from an infection that resulted in a trip to the hospital.

Liz Power has been a staunch and visible supporter of her husband’s racing career for years. After his second title, Will credited Liz with providing him confidence by telling him of a preseason premonition he would win the championship.

“I have to thank Kenny for the opportunity and his total understanding of our situation and the support he has shown,” Will Power said in a release. “I will be cheering them on from North Carolina and hopefully we get another opportunity to do something together in the future.”

Stolz won last year’s Bathurst 12 Hour with Habul and Jules Gounon. Habul, a businessman racer who is president and CEO of SunEnergy1, raced in Formula Ford during the 1990s against Power, who had hoped his GT experience in the Rolex 24 would help him prepare for future starts in Australia’s Supercars.

“In these situations, it really goes without saying, that family comes first,” Habul, who will be making his sixth Rolex 24 start, said in a release. “The first priority is Liz, and her health and we wish her the fastest recovery possible.

“Given our history racing against each other in Formula Ford in Australia all those years ago, it was going to be cool to drive with Will at Daytona, but I am sure there will be plenty of opportunities for us to team up in the future. We welcome Luca to our Daytona lineup, who is no stranger to the SunEnergy1 team.”

The Roar before the Rolex 24 test session will begin Friday, Jan. 20 at the Daytona International Speedway road course.

Power’s withdrawal will leave 10 active IndyCar drivers entered in the 2023 Rolex 24 at Daytona.