Danica Patrick puts pressure on Ricky Stenhouse Jr. for memorable Valentine’s Day

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As a race car driver, Danica Patrick has big plans for Friday. She’ll take part in two practices as well as the drawing for the field for Saturday’s Sprint Unlimited.

But as for plans for afterward, Patrick has absolutely no clue.

We’re talking about Valentine’s Day plans, of course, with her boyfriend and fellow Sprint Cup driver Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

“I’m the girl, don’t ask me, ask Ricky,” Patrick said when asked about what she expects to do on the big V Day during Thursday’s Media Day at Daytona International Speedway.

But while she doesn’t have a clue what Stenhouse is planning, Patrick made sure she dropped a few hints in recent days.

“I did say to him yesterday, I said, ‘Hey, babe, I feel like I shouldn’t be thinking about this because it should be your job, but would you like me to ask someone to make reservations as a restaurant?’

“He said, ‘No, I’ll get it.  I’ll figure it out.  I’ll ask somebody here.’

“I’m like, ‘Okay, I’ll let you just do it.'”

Patrick said she expects to at least go out for a romantic dinner. Now the pressure is on Stenhouse to come up with a broader overall plan.

“I don’t know, I don’t know,” Patrick told reporters. “I think we’ll probably go to a restaurant.  I don’t know. You’ll have to ask him, though. Maybe he’ll tell you.”

Hopefully, this year’s Valentine’s Day will be a bit more, shall we say, pricier than the gifts the couple gave to each other last year, when their romance was just beginning to bloom.

“For our Valentine’s Day presents we both bought like $20 gifts for each other and paid like $100 in shipping because we did it last minute,” Patrick said. “He was telling me how he had it shipped and it wasn’t there.  I said, I did the last thing, actually.  He said (his gift) was more expensive.  I said, ‘Your gift was $22 and I paid $100 in shipping.  So that was our Valentine’s Day.”

Later in the day, Stenhouse downplayed if he’s feeling any pressure for this Valentine’s Day: “We went and ate dinner (last year), but she made the reservation.  I made reservations this year, so we’re good.”

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Audi bids farewell to Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich upon retirement

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Audi bid farewell to its iconic head of motorsport, Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich, at its end-of-season ‘Race Night’ event in Germany on Friday upon his retirement.

Ullrich took over the reins as Audi’s head of motorsport in 1993 and stayed in the role for 23 years, overseeing its arrival in the prototype class of sports car racing and domination of the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Ullrich stepped down from the position at the end of 2016, handing the reins over to ex-Audi DTM chief Dieter Gass, and attended his final racing event with the German marque at its first works Formula E outing in Hong Kong earlier this month.

Ullrich was honored at the Race Night event on Friday and thanked for his efforts in developing Audi into a force within global motorsport.

“In 566 factory-backed commitments during this period he celebrated 209 victories, 13 of them in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, eleven in the 12-hour race at Sebring and nine in the ‘Petit Le Mans’ at Road Atlanta,” a piece on Ullrich’s tenure for Audi’s website reads.

“31 driver titles in super touring car racing, in the DTM and in the sports prototype category are credited to him. 57 campaigners were Audi factory drivers during Wolfgang Ullrich’s era and he was responsible for 18 new developments of racing cars – an impressive tally.”