Standing by her man: Danica has boyfriend Ricky’s back on Twitter

Danica Patrick made the race at Talladega but boyfriend Ricky Stenhouse Jr. wasn't so fortunate.

Sean Gardner/Getty Images

One of the big surprises of Saturday’s almost unanimously unpopular qualifying session at Talladega Speedway was Ricky Stenhouse Jr. missing the race.

Stenhouse, one of three drivers whose best speed wasn’t fast enough to make the field for Sunday’s Geico 500, is a two-time Nationwide Series champion and competes for Roush Fenway Racing — one of the Sprint Cup Series’ top organizations. 

Prior to Saturday, Stenhouse had qualified for all 72 Sprint Cup Series events he had entered since making his first Cup start in 2011.

But with Saturday’s qualifying session at the 2.66-mile Alabama track more about luck and getting hooked up with a good drafting partner than talent or raw speed, Stenhouse was left on the outside looking in.

Afterward, the 27-year-old Mississippi native turned to Twitter to express his disappointment about not being part of one of the biggest races of the year.

A few minutes later, girlfriend and fellow driver Danica Patrick — who qualified 27th — retweeted Stenhouse and joined several of her fellow drivers in expressing frustration about Saturday’s debut of an all-new qualifying format that is specific to this race only.

While fans partied it up in Talladega’s famously festive infield, Saturday night undoubtedly wasn’t a whole lot of fun in the motorhome shared by the sport’s most recognizable power couple.