Danica talks brand loyalty

SONOMA, CA - JUNE 22: Ricky Stenhouse Jr., driver of the #17 Roush Fenway Racing Ford, talks with Danica Patrick, driver of the #10 GoDaddy.com Chevrolet, on the grid during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Sonoma Raceway on June 22, 2013 in Sonoma, California. (Photo by Jerry Markland/Getty Images)
SONOMA, CA - JUNE 22:  Ricky Stenhouse Jr., driver of the #17 Roush Fenway Racing Ford, talks with Danica Patrick, driver of the #10 GoDaddy.com Chevrolet, on the grid during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Sonoma Raceway on June 22, 2013 in Sonoma, California.  (Photo by Jerry Markland/Getty Images)
SONOMA, CA – JUNE 22: Ricky Stenhouse Jr., driver of the #17 Roush Fenway Racing Ford, talks with Danica Patrick, driver of the #10 GoDaddy.com Chevrolet, on the grid during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Sonoma Raceway on June 22, 2013 in Sonoma, California. (Photo by Jerry Markland/Getty Images)

SPARTA, Ky. — Danica Patrick received a ration of grief on Twitter last weekend at Sonoma Raceway when a candid photo caught her emerging from a Ford Fusion in the paddock lot.

Patrick drives a Chevrolet for Stewart-Haas Racing, but there was no brand disloyalty involved. In fact, the explanation was as simple as it was predictable. The Fusion was a rental car belonging to boyfriend Ricky Stenhouse Jr., who drives Fords for Roush Fenway Racing.

Because of heavy traffic headed into the track, Stenhouse was cutting it close for a team meeting. Patrick offered to park the car in the paddock lot at the far end of the main grandstand, down a steep hill from the main road into the raceway.

“For those of you who follow me on Twitter, you would have seen that it was taking a really long time to get into the track, and he had a team meeting at the top of the hill,” Patrick said. “That was a long walk, and he was going to be late if we parked down in the paddock area.

“So, being the nice girlfriend that I am, I said I would just drive the car down and park it, and you get on with your meetings. So, it was really as simple as that.”

As Patrick discovered, however, in the days of omnipresent cameras and instant sharing, nothing is quite that simple, no matter how well-intended.

About Greg Engle 7420 Articles
Greg is a published award winning sportswriter who spent 23 years combined active and active reserve military service, much of that in and around the Special Operations community. Greg is the author of "The Nuts and Bolts of NASCAR: The Definitive Viewers' Guide to Big-Time Stock Car Auto Racing" and has been published in major publications across the country including the Los Angeles Times, the Cleveland Plain Dealer and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He was also a contributor to Chicken Soup for the NASCAR Soul, published in 2010, and the Christmas edition in 2016. He wrote as the NASCAR, Formula 1, Auto Reviews and National Veterans Affairs Examiner for Examiner.com and has appeared on Fox News. He holds a BS degree in communications, a Masters degree in psychology and is currently a PhD candidate majoring in psychology. He is currently the weekend Motorsports Editor for Autoweek.