Anyone expecting any awkward tension between Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Danica Patrick at the Daytona 500 is out of luck.
Stenhouse and Patrick ended their five-year relationship after the 2017 season, and they have one more race against each other before Patrick retires from NASCAR. Stenhouse was asked at the NASCAR Media Tour if he was going to race her any differently, and he said he will try to race everyone respectfully.
“I don’t think I’ll race any differently,” Stenhouse said via NASCAR.com. “I try to respect everybody around me, especially at speedway races. You don’t want to put somebody in a bad spot because you’ll put everybody in a bad spot. I’ll go out and race just like I’m racing everybody else and see how it plays out.
“Heck, when we first started racing we got in crashes anyway. So it is what it is. I’ll just go compete as hard as I can. I plan on putting myself in position to win the race.”
Patrick plans to race at the Daytona 500 and Indy 500 before retiring from racing. She recently announced that she will drive the No. 7 car for Premium Motorsports.
Stenhouse is coming off of the best year of his Cup Series career after he won two races last season and made the playoffs. He won at both Daytona and Talladega, and he will be looking to earn a trip back to the playoffs with another win at Daytona.
Stenhouse has mostly remained quiet about his breakup with Patrick, and it’s unlikely he reveals anything prior to the Daytona 500.
Don’t expect any drama between the two when the Daytona 500 kicks off the 2018 NASCAR season on Sunday, Feb. 18.