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 with AP."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.Stenhouse became a mentor of sorts to the 30-year-old Patrick, who left Indy Car 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.Despite what his body language might suggest, after winning the GEICO 500 on Sunday, Stenhouse said: “I don’t mind being known as her boyfriend.She doesn’t mind being known as my girlfriend.” Up until last weekend at Talladega Superspeedway, neither of them had won a NASCAR Cup Series race, so “Danica’s boyfriend” remained an easy identifier for Stenhouse when she is more famous.(Stenhouse won the award.) “I mean, when it comes to golf or something, I will totally mess with him. After being evaluated and released from the infield care center, she retreated to their motorhome where she began packing so she and Stenhouse could immediately depart the Alabama track when the race concluded.But as the laps wound down and it became apparent Stenhouse was in contention for his first career win, Patrick’s attention shifted to watching the race.When Stenhouse crossed the finish line, Patrick hustled to meet her boyfriend where they shared a celebratory kiss.“All I did was throw my tennis shoes on and got out the door on the golf cart and went to victory lane and waited for him to pull in” Patrick said.
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."Yes, we are dating," he said.But with Sunday’s victory, he took a strong step toward making a name for himself nationally, outside of his relationship status, regardless of how he feels about it. ” she told But Patrick also pointed out that because she is older than Stenhouse – she’s 35 while he’s 29 – part of her greater name recognition is from getting in the national spotlight sooner, starting in the Indy Car Series in 2005 when he jumped into the NASCAR XFINITY Series in 2009.“I do have a little bit of a head start on national exposure for big races like the Indy 500 and stuff like that,” Patrick said. There’s good and bad that comes with it.” Through 10 races this season, Stenhouse is 12th in the driver standings while Patrick is 31st."I don't normally say too much about my private life, always been focused on the track.I didn't want to confirm at media day so that we could keep the focus on the season, the Gen-6 (car), my sponsors and team.