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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Here’s who were picking to win the Indy 500 — who are YOU picking?

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Several members of the NBC Sports motorsports staff have made their predictions on who will win Sunday’s 102nd Running of the Indianapolis 500.

Of the six voters, two are going with 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series champ Josef Newgarden, while two others are going with Helio Castroneves to win a fourth 500, which would tie him with A.J. Foyt, Al Unser and Rick Mears.

Here’s our picks. Who are YOU picking?

Leigh Diffey: Helio Castroneves — He drives the place better than anyone else. For me (for what its worth) he deserves a fourth 500 ring for the frustration he went through never getting the IndyCar title!

Townsend Bell: Josef Newgarden

Nate Ryan: Simon Pagenaud — All of his 2018 misfortune on the track has disappeared in May, and it culminates in the biggest victory of his career.

Jerry Bonkowski: Helio Castroneves – There’s no pressure as he pursues his fourth Indy 500 win. All Helio has to do, as late NFL owner Al Davis would say, is “Just win, baby!” (But if Helio falls short, watch for Marco Andretti)

Kyle Lavigne: Josef Newgarden — I think he has everything he needs to get it done this year.

Dan Beaver: Robert Wickens – Has driven like anything except a rookie and his second-place finish at Phoenix proves he’s just as good on an oval as the road courses.

Follow: Jerry Bonkowski