The rumors have turned into reality, as Danica Patrick has confirmed to the Associated Press that she and fellow NASCAR driver Ricky Stenhouse Jr. are dating.
"I have a boyfriend, his name is Richard," Patrick told the AP. "I think I am just finally excited to tell someone about this."
Patrick also said that she and Stenhouse waited until after the Sprint Media Tour to make the announcement so as not to cause a distraction.
"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)," Patrick said. "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."
When asked Thursday if he was dating Patrick, Stenhouse sidestepped the question saying he didn't "like to talk too much about my personal life."
On Friday, however, Stenhouse acknowledged the relationship to the AP.
"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."
Both Patrick and Stenhouse are rookies this season in the Sprint Cup Series and will be competing head-to-head for Rookie of the Year. Patrick told the AP that their relationship won't have an impact on how the two race each other on the track.
"Obviously, we've been racing together for a couple years now, him and I have always gotten along, we've always had a lot of respect for each other on the track, there's never been an issue out there," she said. "I always say I'll race people how they race me until they do something to make me change my mind. I don't anticipate that changing at all, or us having any issues on the track."