It was Danica Patrick who dropped the weapon of mass distraction, in a phone interview with the Associated Press: "I have a boyfriend, his name is Richard," was all it took.For celebrity gossip magazines and US tabloids, news that Danica is dating anyone new at all would be enough to keep them in headlines for months.Will either one of them pull their punches where the other is concerned?Will it blunt their competitive edge and prove a distraction?"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." As far as Roush Fenway is concerned, all this is none of the team's business as long as the drivers get on and do their job: "Our policy at Roush Fenway Racing has always been to let our drivers address their own personal lives," said RFR president Steve Newmark."We have zero concerns, particularly since we're talking about two fiercely competitive individuals who both want to win NASCAR races and be the best at what they do." Many fellow Sprint Cup drivers didn't want to respond to questions about the Danica/Ricky situation, but former Cup champion Jeff Gordon did tweet with an implied pained sigh: "We live in a world today where drama, controversy & who's dating who is what people want to read." Inevitably, once the season gets under way next month at Daytona, Patrick and Stenhouse can expect to take a lot of ribbing from their fellow drivers up and down pit lane now that the news is in the public domain.Brad Keselowski was by no means the first when he said tongue-in-cheek that he was concerned that the relationship might violate NASCAR's testing policy.
were to win the Daytona 500 and Juan Montoya rear-end another jet dryer. Have your own fun with this at home.) Danica herself is used to being forever at the eye of the media storm, but you have to wonder whether Stenhouse himself knows just what he's let himself in for. " laughed former F1 star and now NASCAR Sprint Cup driver Scott Speed, himself no stranger to press attention and who also met his own future wife Amanda, a motorsports PR professional, in the race paddock."I don't think their competitive decisions are going to be challenged very much by their off-track relationship," said fellow driver Landon Cassill, who has raced both Patrick and Stenhouse in the last year He pointed out that it was no different from having other family members (like the Dillon, Busch and Wallace brothers) competing in the same race for different teams."There won't be many laps go by that he won't be thinking, 'Where's Danica?Some even thought that Danica was looking rather cosy of late with one of her fellow Sprint Cup drivers in particular.It was Danica's Friday confirmation that the 'Richard' to whom she referred was indeed the current, two-time NASCAR Nationwide Series champion Ricky Stenhouse Jr.