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Patrick announces relationship with Stenhouse Jr.

Published: Friday, Jan. 25, 2013 11:57 a.m. CST

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Danica Patrick tells The Associated Press she's dating fellow NASCAR driver Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

Patrick says she went public to quell widespread speculation about the nature of their relationship.

The drivers will be competing this season for rookie of the year honors in NASCAR's top Sprint Cup Series. They grew close while racing against each other the last two seasons in the second-tier Nationwide Series, where Stenhouse has won the last two championships.

The 30-year-old Patrick announced in November she and husband Paul Hospenthal were divorcing after seven years. She said the marriage to the 47-year-old Hospenthal was "irretrievably broken" in her Jan. 3 filing in Arizona.

Stenhouse, who is 25, has never been married.