Danica Patrick wasted no time in ruining one of the worst-kept secrets in NASCAR, divulging that she is indeed dating fellow Sprint Cup rookie Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
On Thursday, we reported Stenhouse was forced to answer rumors that he was indeed dating the famed NASCAR driver.
It seems the barrage of questions was enough for Patrick to pull an audible and answer for herself as to whether she was dating her colleague.
The Associated Press had an exclusive phone interview with Patrick, who eradicated all the rumors, saying:
I have a boyfriend, his name is Richard.
I think I am just finally excited to tell someone about this.
We are dating, and I know there's been a bit of a runaround this week at the media days and poor Ricky got grilled (with questions). It was out of respect to NASCAR, to all the manufacturers, the new cars, the teams, the sponsors, just to allow the news of the day to be about racing and not let anything interfere with that. So, it's Friday now, so that's why we waited until the end of the week to be up front about each other.
We can go ahead and call Patrick not just a NASCAR driver, but a celebrity most people—even those unaware of Sprint Cup and its various drivers—would recognize in an instant, so we understand Patrick's initial hope to keep the relationship under wraps.
We also commend her for knowing that what in reality is just silly curiosity from media and fans could turn into a circus, skewing any good that could come from the upcoming season.
It was most likely too hard to carry on with a secret relationship and get through a divorce from her husband of seven years, Paul Hospenthal. Patrick officially filed for divorce on January 3, describing their marriage (via the AP article) as "irretrievably broken."
As for Stenhouse, he did his best to skirt the lines of an admission Thursday when he answered questions about the two. When asked if they were dating, he offered the following, via USA Today.
We've got a great relationship. Obviously, it started when she came into the sport. We were both going to rookie meetings. It's been cool to work with her in the Nationwide Series. I've felt like she could come to me with advice with the experience I've had.
But, you know, I don't like to talk too much about my personal life.
It was a valiant effort, Ricky.
Now you can both go back to preparing for the upcoming season and not worry about all of this relationship business. I am sure reporters will have absolutely no further questions on the matter.
Well, we can hope, anyway.
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