has revealed that she is dating fellow driver Ricky Stenhouse Jr. after weeks of speculation surrounding the couple's relationship.
The race-car driver, model and advertising spokeswoman made the revelation in a telephone interview to the Associated Press. Patrick's confirmation ended the widespread rumor regarding the nature of the couple's relationship.
''I have a boyfriend, his name is Richard,'' she said. ''I think I am just finally excited to tell someone about this,'' she laughed, sounding quite excited.
Both Patrick and Stenhouse waited for the end of the Charlotte Motor Speedway's weeklong annual media tour to go public with their relationship so that the focus of the media remains on the event and not on the couple's new relationship status.
''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),'' she said, according to foxsports.com. ''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.''
Patrick and Stenhouse started out as friends. They raced each other during the last two seasons in the Nationwide series. Stenhouse used to give advice to Patrick and had become kind of a mentor to her.
Stenhouse also confirmed his relationship with Patrick, saying that even though he is a private person, he had to share this news.
Patrick was previously married to Paul Hospenthal, but the couple split and later divorced last November. Patrick filed for divorce in January, and in the filing she mentioned that her marriage to Hospenthal was “irretrievably broken.” When the divorce news came about, speculation regarding her relationship with Stenhouse immediately started surfacing, but until recently it had not been confirmed by either side.