BY THE TIME you read this, Danica Patrick and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. may have broken up. It's just the nature of relationships, and, in this case, even more so the nature of office relationships.(Everyone knows the old expression - you should never drive and park in the same place.)I've said it before and I'll say it again:Lawyers shouldn't date lawyers.Podiatrists shouldn't date podiatrists.Molecular biologists shouldn't date molecular biologists.And NASCAR drivers shouldn't date NASCAR drivers.(The sole exception, of course, would've been physicists Pierre and Marie Curie - that was a match made in hydrogen and helium gas. Pierre and Marie liked nothing better than weighing out a 100-gram sample of pitchblende and grounding it with a pestle and mortar. They kept each other awake at night with barium jokes; radioactivity was an aphrodisiac for them.)Nonetheless, Patrick continues to steer her own path, professionally and personally - she's certainly a different animal than most athletes. For instance, Patrick loves modern art, particularly Salvador Dali; Richard Petty, on the other hand, was fond of "Dogs Playing Poker."The photogenic Patrick-Stenhouse pairing, actually, seems somewhat predictable. I remember what my Uncle Stanislav told me as I was coming of age, "Chicks always go for the guy in a cowboy hat and a huge silver belt buckle," and, well, Stenhouse literally fits the bill.I'm not sure how they met, but it probably was by speed dating or at a NASCAR drive-thru singles function.
Her: "What type of car do you drive?"Him: What type of car do you drive?For the record, she's driving a Chevrolet and he's driving a Ford, which makes no sense to me, since Japanese cars have been outperforming their American counterparts since, like, 1985.(Column Intermission: Springbrook High's boys basketball team ended a disappointing 13-10 season with a first-round loss in the Maryland state playoffs. I'll be perfectly blunt here: My tax dollars deserve better than 13-10. I'm talking to coach Tom Crowell about instating a PB&J-and-PBR training regimen next year. As for junior forward Isaiah Eisendorf, my stepson played hard all season, but he's staring at a long, hot summer - 200 foul shots a day, plus cutting the lawn.)
Frankly, anywhere "Stenica" goes together, there's always going to be one backseat driver.On top of normal boy-girl stuff, there are so many hurdles for Patrick and Stenhouse to overcome.
For starters, they will compete for the Sprint Cup rookie-of-the-year award. At the Daytona 500 last week, Patrick finished eighth and Stenhouse was 12th. In many relationships, a man often doesn't like it when his mate is more successful than he is. (I don't have that problem. I'm old school: I try to keep Toni, a.k.a. She Is The One, barefoot, pregnant and in the kitchen. And it's worked to some extent - I haven't knocked her up yet, but she's become as good of a no-shoes-and-no-socks-at-any-time chef as anybody in the business.)Age is another barrier for the couple; he's 25 and she's almost 31. Now, that won't matter as much when they're 93 and 99, but right now, those six years are like a Grand Canyon cultural fissure. Dating an older woman is tricky business; at the very least, Stenhouse should watch a bunch of "Sex and the City" reruns.(By the way, my PGA grapevine tells me Tiger Woods might reunite with Elin Nordgren. Don't do it, pal. And I'd give the same advice to Elin. There's an old adage about remarrying an ex-spouse: "Once an accident, twice an idiot.")
Finally, there's talk that this romantic link will lead to Patrick and Stenhouse "playing footsie" on the track, so to speak, either yielding to each other or retaliating against other drivers. Nonsense - they're both professionals.The truer test will be after the romance is over - again, I'm not rooting against them, I just know that 99 or so out of every 100 relationships end before death does anyone part. Man, that first race after the breakup, who doesn't want to see that baby?It will make "Cannonball Run" look like "Driving Miss Daisy."Ask The SlouchQ. 50 Cent tried to steal a kiss from Fox's Erin Andrews at the Daytona 500. Do you run into the same problem when you broadcast the World Series of Poker? (J.B. Koch; Waukesha, Wis.)A. I would never stop 50 Cent from trying to kiss me.Q. What's your time in the 40? (Tom Schultz; Milwaukee)A. If there happens to be some really, really good barbecued ribs 120 feet away, I can be more nimble than you'd imagine.Q. Dennis Rodman embarked last week on a "goodwill tour" of North Korea. Why? (Paul Ross; Carmel, Ind.)A. Lenny Dykstra was unavailable.Q. In New York they have alternate-side-of-the-street parking. Do college basketball refs use the same approach when making charge/block calls? (Bo Cunningham; Spokane, Wash.)A. Pay the man, Shirley.You, too, can enter the $1.25 Ask The Slouch Cash Giveaway. Just e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org and, if your question is used, you win $1.25 in cash!