Danica, what the hell? I've been waiting for your phone call and now I hear your cheating on me.
She revealed to press she and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. are a couple, ending widespread speculation about the nature of their relationship.
''I have a boyfriend, his name is Richard,'' she said during an exclusive telephone interview.
''I think I am just finally excited to tell someone about this,'' Patrick laughed, sounding almost giddy as she said the two-time Nationwide champion's middle name is Lynn and he prefers she use his first name.
The couple waited until the end of Charlotte Motor Speedway's weeklong annual media tour to go public with their relationship, which started as a friendship as they raced each other the last two seasons in the Nationwide Series. Stenhouse became a mentor of sorts to the 30-year-old Patrick, who left IndyCar after the 2011 season to make the full-time switch to NASCAR.
''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. ''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.''
Stenhouse confirmed the relationship.