MONTEREY, Calif. — Will Power has learned to trust his wife Liz’s gut feeling, who always seems to know when her two-time IndyCar Champion husband arrives at a career-defining moment.
“She has good intuition,” said the Australian in his typically whimsical understatement.
Or maybe it could be better said that she has an uncanny talent for predicting the future.
There was a time in 2008 when Liz talked Will out of the only race contract he had for the following season, insisting that an opportunity with an IndyCar powerhouse would come out of the blue. When Will won the biggest race of his life in 2018, Liz (a worrying one who admits “I don’t hide that very well”) sat calmly throughout May expecting victory at the Indy 500 to be imminent.
Of course, when Power began to fume in February while standing in the kitchen of her home in Troutman, North Carolina a week before the 2022 NTT IndyCar Series season opener, Liz delivered another morale-boosting foreboding of clarity, confidence and inner peace.
This would be the year that Will broke Mario Andretti’s career pole position mark and claimed his second title.
“He got nervous, obviously like he was nervous before the start of a season,” Liz told NBC Sports. “I told him, ‘Will, I know you’re going to break his record. you will do it And I honestly believe that you will win the championship too. You will do it in a great way. I just know it.
“And that’s what I used to tell him all year, when he was nervous and down, I said, ‘I know you do! I don’t know why I know you do it, but I know you do!’ ”
In the course of a memorable weekend It all came true on the Monterey Peninsula—again.
A day after scoring his 68th Career pole position To break the mark of a racing legend, Power capped the closest championship fight in 20 years with another title by finishing third at the Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey. Despite being a mess of nerves and waking up a few times in the middle of the night last week, he was calm after strapping himself into his Dallara Chevrolet #12 and remembering what Liz had said.
“It actually gave me confidence,” Will said. “I have so much faith in her gut feeling. It kind of made me feel, ‘OK, yeah, she’s said things like that before.’ Man, everything has to be right. But deep down I know how life flows sometimes and I thought this might happen.”
This was the same approach Liz took when Will signed to race in the fledgling A1GP series in the fall of 2008.
Liz had worked for IndyCar team owner Derrick Walker, who as a consultant had insight into A1GP’s financial woes. Despite their warnings that it was “a bad call,” Will signed with the series because he had no IndyCar prospects (despite winning the Long Beach Champ Car final). Two days later he had changed his mind and Liz was working her magic.
She sometimes has similar hunches about things unrelated to her husband’s career, but she always takes her mother’s advice: follow your gut.
“Another of my strange feelings,” she said, laughing as she recalled the events that led to Will’s dream job. “I said, ‘If you sign it, it’s going to be really difficult to get back into IndyCar, and how do you know a seat at Ganassi or a seat at Penske isn’t coming up? He said, ‘There’s no way that’s going to happen.’ I said, ‘No, you don’t know that!’ Luckily he got away.”
A month later, Helio Castroneves was arrested for tax evasion and Roger Penske suddenly needed a back-up plan in case Castroneves was unavailable for the start of the 2009 season.
One evening Will was packing to return to Australia when the phone rang.
“We’re like, ‘Okay, that’s not going to happen,'” Liz recalled. “He gets the call and I’m lying on the couch and emerging as I hear him say, ‘Oh hey, Roger!’ I jump up and down and as soon as he hung up I said, ‘I told you! I knew I was right!’
“So he always hates it because every time I’m like, ‘You should listen to me more often!’ ”
Will will likely refer to these clues more often after last weekend. He still speaks with awe about how Liz sparked his career-saving move to Penske.
“It was scary, unbelievable,” he said. “She actually talked me out of this (A1GP) contract. It just blew my mind. How could she know? She didn’t know. She just felt it.”