DOVER, Del. -- Danica Patrick understands why team owner Tony Stewart said he wanted to choke Ricky Stenhouse Jr., her boyfriend.
"Don't you want to choke your kids every now and again?" she said Friday with a laugh. "Everyone wants to choke their kids or their dad or their son or their significant other at times. I think that's a comment out of love, no doubt."
Stewart was upset with Stenhouse after Sunday's Coca-Cola 600 because the rookie was doing too much blocking and not enough racing. The driver/owner (whose roster includes Patrick) said he loved Stenhouse like family, but wanted to choke him.
"They had a conversation about Sunday night," Patrick said. "(Stewart) loves him like a son, so you'd never try and hurt your son, you'd only try and help your son. That's the moral of that story.
"You say (you'd choke someone) because you can't do it."
Patrick said it was actually a positive thing Stewart was upset at Stenhouse, because it showed he thinks the rookie driver will be around for awhile and wants to help.
"If Tony is hard on rookies, I just thank the good Lord above that I'm on his team," Patrick said. "He wants to help teach the rookies that he respects and feels should get that time of day. If there's anyone out there he says something about ... it's because he wants them to learn how to play the game."
Stewart wasn't the only driver steamed at Stenhouse after Sunday night's race, though; Patrick wasn't happy with her boyfriend, either.
She acknowledged being upset because Stenhouse made it three-wide when he could have backed out of the situation (he was two laps down at the time and Patrick was racing Brad Keselowski for the free pass). Patrick said it was the second time she's been upset with Stenhouse this season; she was also mad he made it four-wide at one point in the Talladega race.
"I was definitely upset and angry about the (Charlotte) situation," she said. "I was a little bit upset with him. Yeah, I was. And we talked about it (on the car ride home). It's absolutely fine now and it was fine by the end of the ride home.
"That's what happens out there: Tensions are high and so are emotions."
Though people continue to talk about the incident due to the gossip element of the situation -- the story made the front page of both the E! and US Weekly websites -- Patrick said she understands the "human interest story." She told reporters their questions were "legitimately something you could ask."
"I understand it's interesting," she said. "I'm sure I'd want to know how that all went down after the race too. We're an entertainment sport, I get it."