Continued from page 1

Later in the day, she thanked fans for their support on her Twitter page.

“Thanks everyone for all of your nice messages, and the bump drafting jokes are cracking me up!” Patrick wrote. “Let the fun begin.”

Dating competitors is nothing new _ not even in motorsports.

NHRA drivers Erica Enders and Richie Stevens dated for six years before getting engaged last year and married last month, and NASCAR Busch Series drivers Patti Moise and Elton Sawyer were married teammates in the early 1990s.

And then there are equally strong bonds from all those well-known racing families.

The Unser family raced against each other for years. Brothers Bobby and Al raced each other between 1965 and 1981, and Al Sr. raced his son from 1983 to 1993. Senior even edged Junior by a point for the 1985 IndyCar title.

Throw in the Andrettis, the Allisons, the Pettys, the Labontes, the Bodines and the Busches, and it’s hardly uncommon for people who care about one another to compete on the racetrack.

Sure, Patrick and Stenhouse are in a different situation. After all, what happens if they break up?

“Thanks a lot, Ricky,” Bowyer said sarcastically. “I’m down here enjoying the sunny weather in Daytona, at my first 24-hour race, and what do I get asked? About Ricky and Danica.”