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Stenhouse happy to play second-fiddle to Danica
"I’ve been telling Danica she needs to vote for me," he told a crowd Thursday afternoon at Charlotte Motor Speedway. “And if her fans want to do it, that’s great, too.”
Danica Patrick and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. pose with a fan wearing a male thong (that is just wrong on so many levels) in the Talladega infield.
AP Photo
There Stenhouse goes again, flaunting his romance with one of racing’s biggest celebrities.

If Stenhouse had any hesitation about being in the spotlight for his relationship with NASCAR star Danica Patrick, the Roush Fenway Racing driver isn’t showing it.

“I feel good about where we are, she’s racing and I’m racing,” Stenhouse said about the scrutiny on his personal life with Patrick, who also is his competition for Sprint Cup rookie honors. “(The media) have all been great to us. It hasn’t been uncomfortable at any moment.

“We’re just regular people just having a relationship.”

Last week at Talladega Superspeedway, Patrick went with Stenhouse on a walk through the wild Talladega infield. He tweeted photos of them posing with a male fan wearing a body thong

Stenhouse said he typically takes a walk through the Talladega infield during race weekend. This time, Patrick and her family went with him.

“Her mom and dad and me and her walk through (the infield) and a guy I happen to know walks through wearing what you saw and I’m like, ‘There’s no way I would do that,’” Stenhouse said. “So of course, I’ve got to take a picture and send it out because this is stuff you only see at Talladega.

“The people that are not in the infield that are in the grandstands, I feel like need to see it.”

When people see Patrick and Stenhouse out on a date or walking through the Talladega infield, it isn’t rare for fans to approach them.

They wish Patrick good luck in her next race. Stenhouse?

“People notice her,” Stenhouse says with a laugh. “It’s still funny, people are telling her, ‘Hey, good luck this weekend.’

“And I’m thinking, ‘Thanks. You’re not going to tell me good luck?’ … All in all, it’s been really fun.”

The 25-year-old driver from Mississippi seems to be enjoying life, even if it means being overshadowed by his more-famous girlfriend. A recent photo of them at an NHL playoff game showed only half of Stenhouse standing next to Patrick, and he wasn’t even identified.

“Dang, they cut half of me out? Thanks,” he said about the photo. “But it’s all good. I’ve never really been worried about being in the spotlight.

“I couldn’t care less. If I am, I am. Obviously with her, I am a little bit more but I’m comfortable with it.”

Stenhouse does admit to being surprised when ESPN showed him and Patrick sitting alone and having dinner atop the bleachers during the Nationwide Series race at Richmond a few weeks ago.

“All of a sudden I’m getting texts, my phone is blowing up and Carl (Edwards) is in the booth sending me pictures, ‘Hey, we see you,’” Stenhouse said.

“I thought it was funny, especially I guess they had some fun with it when they had the red flag. But yes, I was surprised.”

While things appear to be progressing well off the track, Stenhouse also is pleased with his progress on the track.

He is 17th in the Cup standings and seeing improvement on the track as well as meshing with crew chief Scott Graves. He still seeks his first top-10 finish, although he led 26 laps and finished 11th at Kansas.

“I would like to run consistently more in the top 10 before I can sit here and say, ‘We’re close to winning,’” Stenhouse said. “We had a car to win at Kansas but I don’t feel like our race team, week in and week out, is ready to go win races.

“You can hit it a weekend and be really good but we definitely have got to get better. We’re having fun. The race team is getting along and everything is good.” Sporting News

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