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Danica Patrick announces her divorce

Paul Hospenthal and Danica Patrick. (Getty Images)

Tough personal news out of NASCAR Tuesday, as Danica Patrick has announced via her Facebook page that she and Paul Hospenthal, her husband of seven years, will be divorcing.

"I am sad to inform my fans that after seven years, Paul and I have decided to amicably end our marriage," Patrick wrote in a statement. "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."

[Photos: Danica Patrick and Paul Hospenthal]

Hospenthal, a physical therapist, was not often present by Patrick's side during pre-race events in the way that many other NASCAR spouses are. The two met while he was treating Patrick for a non-racing injury, and married in 2005.

This year, Patrick was named the most popular driver in NASCAR's Nationwide series, and will begin racing full time in the top-level Sprint Cup series next year for Tony Stewart's Stewart-Haas Racing.

[Related: Looking back at the 2012 NASCAR season]

In 33 Nationwide races this year, Patrick ranked 10th and posted an average finish of 18.8, a year that included four top 10s. In the tougher Sprint Cup series, her average finish over 10 races was 28.3.

-Follow Jay Busbee on Twitter at @jaybusbee.-

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