Ricky Stenhouse talks about relationship with Danica Patrick, calls her 'hot'

Michael Hickey-US PRESSWIRE

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. opened up about his relationship with Danica Patrick and said one of the reasons he likes her is because she is "hot."

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. knows what he likes about girlfriend Danica Patrick and he had no problem sharing it with the world during Thursday's Media Day for the Daytona 500.

"She's hot," Stenhouse said.

And so begins Stenhouse's journey into the fish bowl, as the NASCAR rookie will now be subjected to more questions about what he's doing off the track than how he's performing on it.

But the promising rookie, who is coming off consecutive championships in the Nationwide Series, isn't bothered by the attention. He understands this is part of the territory when you're dating one of the most famous athletes in the world -- and someone you happen to be competing against on a weekly basis.

"Obviously it is a big story," Stenhouse said. "It isn't my most important story. I am here to race, but it is something that you are going to have to deal with and just move on."

One area that Patrick has been able to help Stenhouse with is how he deals with the inevitable and sometimes seemingly endless barrage of questions about the couple's personnel life.

"We have talked about it," he said. "She can definitely help out with that because she has experienced a lot of it. You all don't get to me and it doesn't bother me what you say. I don't read articles so it doesn't really bother me."

As of now, Stenhouse is handling what could be a difficult and awkward situation very admirably. And even as he was getting peppered with various questions about his relationship with Patrick, Stenhouse never lost his cool and had fun with the moment -- even joking that if he were to win a race, the headlines would read "Danica's boyfriend wins the race."

Stenhouse even went as far to divulge what he got Patrick for Valentine's Day: a "fancy" set of playing cards, because she likes to play cards, he said. In addition, he also went into the reasons of what initially drew him to Patrick.

"We have had a friendship for a long time and I can't cook and she can," Stenhouse said. "She loves to cook, so that is nice and I love to eat. We get along really well.

"I have never had someone that I can talk racing with and I wasn't 100-percent sure how I would like that, but I have enjoyed it. I think we can learn a lot from each other and be successful."

In regards to the questions of how the two are going to go head-to-head against one another on the track -- as well as for Rookie of the Year honors -- Stenhouse was adamant that he would be respectful toward her, no different from how he races his teammates and fellow competitors.

"I have always raced her clean, but I feel like I have raced everybody clean," he said. "It isn't like I am going to drive anybody different. I try to give respect to everybody on the race track, no matter who it is, teammate or not."

And as he pointed out, there is an added benefit to dating the person you're competing against for Rookie of the Year.

"At least we both get to go to the banquet," Stenhouse quipped.

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