Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Danica Patrick announces divorce

   In a posting to her Facebook page and a message posted to www.DanicaRacing.com, NASCAR driver Danica Patrick on Tuesday announced she and her husband of seven years, Paul Hospenthal, are getting divorced.
   “I am sad to inform my fans that after 7 years, Paul and I have decided to amicably end our marriage,” Patrick wrote in her Facebook 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."
   Hospenthal, 47, and Patrick, 30, married in November 2005 in Arizona. They have no children.
   Patrick, a former IndyCar series driver, finished 10th in the NASCAR Nationwide Series standings this season, with four top-10 finishes in 33 races. In voting on NASCAR.com, she was named the series' most popular driver.
   Patrick will drive fulltime in 2013 in the Sprint Cup Series for Stewart-Haas Racing.
   A spokesperson for Patrick confirmed the divorce and said Patrick would have no other public comment.

Regan Smith gets crew chief at JR Motorsports

   Greg Ives, who served as race engineer for Jimmie Johnson’s run of five consecutive Sprint Cup Series championships, has been named crew chief for JR Motorsports and driver Regan Smith for the 2013 NASCAR Nationwide Series season.

   Ives, 33, and Smith, 29, will spearhead JRM’s bid for a 2013 championship in the No. 5 Chevrolet. Smith won his first race with JR Motorsports last Saturday at Homestead, Fla.

   “Regan’s win on Saturday and the announcement of Greg’s hiring are huge momentum boosts for this company going into the off-season,” said team co-owner Dale Earnhardt Jr. “Greg comes highly regarded. He has been a huge part of the No. 48 team’s success, and this is a good opportunity for him to get his feet wet as a crew chief."

   Team manager Kelley Earnhardt Miller said JRM will likely field just one fulltime Nationwide team in 2013 with Smith and a second part-time team featuring Earnhardt Jr. and other select drivers.

   Until now, Ives has spent all nine years of his NASCAR career at Hendrick Motorsports. A native of Bark River, Mich., and a graduate of Michigan Technological University, Ives began as a mechanic in the then 24/48 (now 48/88) shop in 2004 before moving into an engineering role on the No. 48 team in 2006.

   “Whether I realized it or not, each of my nine years at Hendrick Motorsports recognizing my goals early and giving me opportunities to ultimately reach them," Ives said.