June 29, 2012; Sparta, IN, USA; NASCAR Nationwide Series drivers Ricky Stenhouse Jr and Danica Patrick talk before the Feed the Children 300 at Kentucky Speedway. Mandatory credit: Michael Hickey-USA TODAY Sports

Danica Patrick: I'm Dating Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

Yesterday, Sprint Cup Series rookie of the year conetender squashed or rather avoided rumors and questions that he was dating his rival for the Rookie of the Year award, Danica Patrick. This all occured when the Sprint Media Tour visited Roush-Fenway Racing yesterday and Stenhouse just talked about their friendship being real close.

Patrick revealed to the Associated Press via a telephone interview that she is dating a driver she competes with.

”I have a boyfriend, his name is Richard,” she said during an exclusive telephone interview with AP. I think I am just finally excited to tell someone about this,” Patrick said.

At the same time she laughed as she told the AP his middle name is Lynn and he prefers she go by his first name.

Richard Lynn Stenhouse II.

The two have been friends since entering as rookies in the Nationwide Series in 2009. Over that time, both grew closer to each other and the 25 year old Stenhouse actually became a mentor to Patrick who is five years older, as she adjusted to stock car racing.

Patrick said they denied the rumors this week during the media tour out of respect for the media and everyone involved in the sport to not interfere in their preseason news tours.

Stenhouse also confirmed the rumors this morning too.

”Yes we are dating,” he said. ”I don’t normally say too much about my private life, always been focused on the track. I didn’t want to confirm at media day so that we could keep the focus on the season, the Gen-6 (car), my sponsors and team. That’s what it’s all about for me.”

Patrick rarely talks about her personal life, but after a divorce and rapid rumors of her and Stenhouse dating, she felt she owed it to everyone to let them know that they are indeed dating.

Both drivers confirmed that while they may be in a relationship, they will not change how they compete on the track as both want to win and win rookie of the year honors at the conclusion of the year.

Tags: Danica Patrick NASCAR Ricky Stenhouse Jr Sprint Cup Series

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