Will and Liz Power celebrate much more than a win at Road America

Will Power knows the worst fears a spouse can face. His wife Liz, struck with a blood infection last year, spent the follow-up season to his 2022 NTT IndyCar Series championship won for Roger Penske with his mind and heart thousands of miles away from his wife.

While wanting to be with her — and their young son Beau — as the sepsis nearly turned fatal, Power was gripped with fear and dealt with the distractions at home to the best of his ability. But his focus was often elsewhere, as it should have been, which led to a disappointing championship run that was devoid of his familiar wins and poles.

In breaking that winless streak on Sunday at Road America, Power released more than 12 months of pent-up pressure and professional disappointment, and in an unusually frank conversation, the Australian ace spoke openly about the challenges he and Liz faced throughout her long and life-threatening ordeal.


“It was very special,” Power said of her getting to join him in victory lane after earning a victory of her own that exceeded anything her husband won. “She was in tears. So was her mother. Had Beau there. Yeah, been a rough trot. It was last year we didn’t get a win. She wasn’t at a lot of the races.

“In the off-season (leading into 2023) when my wife is sitting in hospital, we’re just wondering what’s going to happen here. She almost died. You start thinking, “Yeah, I’m going to have to stop now, take care of my son.’

“Then after that also, it’s a long process. Once they put the metal plates and all that, you have that infection in the blood, it can stick to the metal, come back. It’s like what’s going to happen. Continual blood tests. You just got to be on top of it. If it comes, you have to be very quick to have the antibiotics reduce it, I guess. The doc said it can come back anytime. You got to be quick to catch it.”

Liz Power’s situation worsened coming into last year’s Road America race. Her husband was on edge all weekend, which included barking at the track for the quality of its new track surface and unloading on old rival Scott Dixon, who made a mistake and caused a crash that did severe damage to Power’s No. 12 Chevy.

“It was a very stressful weekend because I left thinking that Liz was sick again,” he said. “She was looking (into) a glass. Getting in the car; had booked a private plane, because that’s the only way she could travel, get in the car, she looks down and says, ‘Look at all the worms in that cup.’ I’m like, ‘Oh, s**t.’

“(To my) mother-in-law, I said, ‘You have to stay here. We already booked this plane. Taking off now. I’ll go, call you on the plane.’ All weekend she’s going back and forth to the doctors. Turns out she mixed some medications (and was having) hallucinations. That’s how it all started, hallucinations.

“Stressful, this predicament. Should I race or not? Then you crash bad. That’s why I was so I guess angry or just stressed. Anything set me off. Grappling with that.”

Separate from the racing and whatever else folks might associate with Power in sports, the win at Road America was a very personal affair for the 2018 Indy 500 winner and his wife from Texas. It was a return to normalcy, a reminder of the good days before she was dreadfully sick. Together, they’ve been among the kindest and most caring couples in IndyCar, and after enduring a hellish spell in their personal lives, they got to celebrate together at the race track, in the setting where they met and fell in love. For the first time in a long time, Will Power could breathe freely.

“That’s life,” he said. “People have it way worse. I’m not complaining. People have it way worse. I’m lucky, very lucky.”

Story originally appeared on Racer