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.