Danica Patrick and Ricky Stenhouse Jr.: Driver dodges rumors that he and Patrick are dating
Published Thursday, Jan 24, 2013 at 11:49 am EST Last updated 24 minutes and 41 seconds ago
Bob Pockrass Sporting News
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Amid rumors that Danica Patrick and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. are dating, Stenhouse wouldn’t go into details Thursday about his relationship with the soon-to-be-divorced Patrick.
Stenhouse, meeting with the media Thursday during the Sprint Media Tour, was asked directly about rumors and reports on various celebrity websites that the two Sprint Cup rookies are dating.
“I don’t like to talk too much about my personal life,” Stenhouse said. “This week is about … our season that we’re looking ahead to.”
Both Stenhouse and Patrick were rookies in the NASCAR Nationwide Series in 2010 and have raced together in that series the past three years. They developed a friendship, often sharing racing information and chatting at the track.
“We’ve got a great relationship,” Stenhouse said. “Obviously that started when she first came into the sport. We were both going to rookie meetings. It’s been cool to work with her in the Nationwide Series.
“I felt like she could come to me for advice with the experience that I’ve had.”
Their growing relationship has led to rumors and reports that the two may be more than friends, particularly with Patrick recently filing for divorce from her husband.
The National Enquirer and ShowBizSpy.com both recently ran stories about Patrick’s divorce and her relationship with Stenhouse.
Patrick, a former IndyCar star who has become a worldwide celebrity thanks to her success on the track and her racy commercials for sponsor Go Daddy, wasn’t asked specifically about the reports Monday but did say that she would not talk about the details of her personal life. She filed for divorce from her husband, Paul Hospenthal, in January and is looking to end her seven-year marriage.
Stenhouse, 25, is single.
When asked earlier this week if she had a rivalry with Stenhouse, the 30-year-old Patrick said “we’re good friends.”
Both Stenhouse and Patrick were among a group of NASCAR drivers who recently went to a Professional Bull Riders event in Winston-Salem, N.C., further sparking the rumors.
“A group of us went to the PBR,” Stenhouse said. “Obviously she was in town this week for media week. So there was a big group of us that went and hung out at the rodeo. It was a lot of fun. I think that was her first rodeo ever or PBR bull riding.
“It’s cool. Learning new things is fun. … Obviously it was a different experience for her.”
Both Patrick and Stenhouse struggled in their first year of Nationwide Series racing in 2009. Stenhouse went on to win the series championship in 2010 and 2011 while Patrick, who made the move from full-time IndyCar to full-time NASCAR in 2011, finished 10th last season.
“When she first came into the sport, obviously she is very outgoing and wants to learn as much as she can,” Stenhouse said. “I felt like our backgrounds were somewhat similar coming from light racecars, open-wheel race cars.
“… I’ve given her as much advice as I can.”
Stenhouse said even though they are friends, he wouldn’t race her any differently as they compete for 2012 Sprint Cup rookie honors.
“We’re going for rookie of the year,” Stenhouse said. “People always say, ‘I’ll wreck my mom to win.’ That’s a racer’s mentality. You go out and you want every spot on the racetrack.
“I want to win rookie of the year just as bad as she does.”
Patrick said Monday that she doesn’t see their rivalry on the track changing their relationship.
“That’s really interesting,” she said. “Both of us are running for rookie of the year and both of us want that. I don’t see any reason why it would change.
“He was always very generous with information about how to drive the Nationwide car, certain tips. … We’re good friends. It’s not really a rivalry.”
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Member "Chip" called this, back in Nov.
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