DAYTONA BEACH, FLA. (AP) - Hug it out, Danica.
Patrick was mobbed by fans and swarmed by cameramen as she walked toward the No. 34 car. She posed for pictures with her mother and other friends and family before Stenhouse came over and offered some quick well wishes.
“I want you in it, for posterity,” he said.
“Nah, you don’t want me in it,” Stenhouse said.
Their relationship 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.
Patrick hasn’t taken a step at the track without fans of all sexes and ages sprinting toward her hoping for an autograph or a photo.
The Nationwide race was a sneak preview for Patrick ahead of the real deal _ when she starts from the pole in Sunday’s Daytona 500.