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Danica Patrick confirms end of marriage

NASCAR driver Danica Patrick confirmed on Tuesday that her seven-year marriage to physical therapist Paul Hospenthal is over and that the two had agreed an "amicable" split.
Danica Patrick has confirmed that she is splitting with her husband Paul Hospenthal. The Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series driver made the announcement on her Facebook page on Tuesday.

"I am sad to inform my fans that after seven years, Paul and I have decided to amicably end our marriage," read the brief post. "This isn't easy for either of us, but mutually it has come to this. He has been an important person and friend in my life and that's how we will remain moving forward."

Patrick met Hospenthal, a physical therapist, while under going rehabilitation for a physical injury sustained while she was a competitor in the IndyCar Series. The two lived together in Arizona with Hospenthal preferring to stay out of the media spotlight that follows every step of Patrick's career.

At the end-of-season awards for the Nationwide and Truck Series, Danica Patrick received the title of "most popular driver" in the Nationwide Series. The corresponding winner for the Truck Series was former F1 driver Nelson Piquet Jr. who scored his maiden wins in the series earlier this year.

Driver, crew changes announced for 2013

Now that the 2012 season is over and done with, more details are shaping up about who will be where when NASCAR racing resumes in February at Daytona.

Nationwide Series runner-up Elliott Sadler has been confirmed as Joe Gibbs Racing's full time entry in the series next year, after two years with Richard Childress Racing. JGR's Nationwide operation will also be fielding Brian Vickers in 2013. The team won the owner's title this season with Joey Logano's #18, although the driver himself was not eligible for championship points as he is a Cup regular.

Having previously announced Regan Smith as their full-time Nationwide entry next season, Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s team JR Motorsports had announced that Smith's crew chief will be Greg Ives, who had previously been race engineer for Jimmie Johnson for all five of his Sprint Cup championship campaigns. Earlier this season, Earnhardt parted ways with Tony Eury Sr. and son Tony Eury Jr., the team's director of competition and crew chief for Danica Patrick respectively.

JR Motorsports also confirmed that they would be running a second part-time car alongside Smith, which would be for Earnhardt's occasional Nationwide outings and would also feature "select drivers" over the course of the year. However there seems no budget to run a second full-time competitor in 2013, leaving Cole Whitt out of a seat next year.

In Sprint Cup competition, Roush Fenway Racing announced that veteran crew chief Jimmy Fennig will take over in that role for Carl Edwards next season. Edwards' season was hit by the sudden exit of his longtime crew chief Bob Osborne due to ill-health, and stand-in Chad Norris did little to revive the slump in fortunes for the #99 after they finished as runners-up in the Chase in 2011.




Related Pictures

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After winning their first NASCAR Nationwide Series race together last weekend Phoenix International Raceway, crew chief Luke Lambert and series points leader Elliott Sadler prepare to practice on Friday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in Las Vegas, Nev. [Photo Credit: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images for NASCAR]
Elliott Sadler, driver of the #2 OneMain Financial Chevrolet, during the NASCAR Nationwide Series Kentucky 300 at Kentucky Speedway on September 22, 2012 in Sparta, Kentucky. (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Carl Edwards, driver of the #99 Fastenal Ford, gets out of his car after qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images for NASCAR)
 Carl Edwards leads the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series field to the green flag to start the first Gatorade Duel at Daytona International Speedway. [Picture Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images for NASCAR]
NASCAR Nationwide Series drivers Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Danica Patrick share a light moment as they sign autographs for fans at Iowa Speedway on Saturday in Newton, Iowa. (Photo Credit: Rainier Ehrhardt/Getty Images)
Danica Patrick, driver of the #10 GoDaddy.com Chevrolet, looks on during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 19, 2012 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Dale Earnhardt, Jr., driver of the #88 Diet Mountain Dew Chevrolet SS qualified for eleventh position September 19, 2014 for Sunday`s Chase Challenger 16 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, New Hampshire. Earnhardt, Jr. is in the Chase which continues with the Challenger 16 for this and next week`s race. (Photo by Alan Marler/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe’s Chevrolet SS qualified for sixth position September 19, 2014 for Sunday`s Chase Challenger 16 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, New Hampshire. Johnson is in the Chase which continues with the Challenger 16 for this and next week`s race. (Photo by Christa L Thomas/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Carl Edwards, driver of the #99 Aflac Ford, practices for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on September 19, 2014 in Loudon, New Hampshire. (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Diet Mountain Dew Chevrolet, prepares for practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on September 19, 2014 in Loudon, New Hampshire. (Photo Credit: Jared Wickerham/NASCAR via Getty Images)
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Kevin Harvick, driver of the #5 Jimmy John`s Chevrolet, celebrates with his son, Keelan, in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Nationwide Series Jimmy John`s Freaky Fast 300 at Chicagoland Speedway on September 13, 2014 in Joliet, Illinois. (Photo Credit: Nick Laham/Getty Images)
Matt Crafton, driver of the #88 Splash-FVP/Menards Toyota, leads a pack of trucks during the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Lucas Oil 225 at Chicagoland Speedway on September 13 2014 in Joliet, Illinois. (Photo Credit: Matt Sullivan/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Johnny Sauter, driver of the #98 Nextant/Curb Records Toyota, leads the field through the green flag to start the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Lucas Oil 225 at Chicagoland Speedway on September 13, 2014 in Joliet, Illinois.  (Photo Credit: Jeff Zelevansky/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #51 Dollar General Toyota, crosses the finishline to win the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Lucas Oil 225 at Chicagoland Speedway on September 13, 2014 in Joliet, Illinois. (Photo Credit: Jeff Zelevansky/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #51 Dollar General Toyota, celebrates with a burnout after winning the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Lucas Oil 225 at Chicagoland Speedway on September 13, 2014 in Joliet, Illinois. (Photo Credit: Jeff Zelevansky/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #51 Dollar General Toyota, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning during the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Lucas Oil 225 at Chicagoland Speedway on September 13, 2014 in Joliet, Illinois. (Photo Credit: Daniel Shirey/Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #51 Dollar General Toyota, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning during the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Lucas Oil 225 at Chicagoland Speedway on September 13, 2014 in Joliet, Illinois. (Photo Credit: Daniel Shirey/Getty Images)

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