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For the partnership to really work, Busch knows he has to keep his cool and stay out of the NASCAR hauler. Busch is seeing a sports psychologist to help him with his temper.

“There’s so many situations that come up these days, so many hats that you have to wear as a driver, that when you work through those situations, they can teach you things to pick up very easily, to bring out the best in yourself,” Busch said. “It’s just another tool in the toolbox. It’s like a heavier hammer at some points.”

Like so many weekend do-it-yourself warriors, Busch must have lost his tools at times last year.

After going to the pits for repairs after a wreck at Darlington, Busch did a burnout through Ryan Newman’s box while crew members were over the wall _ an extremely reckless move that could have left someone seriously injured. Afterward, Busch ran into Newman’s car on pit road and got into it with several of the angry crewmen.

NASCAR smacked him with probation, then suspended him for one race after a profane meltdown with a reporter was captured on video.

The wins and the trash talk; the championship and the controversy _ it’s all part of the complicated Kurt Busch story.

“You go through the thick and the thin and hope you’re able to maintain and create a long-lasting opportunity to drive in this series,” he said. “Sometimes it comes with baggage, other times you let the rough edges drag and go for those wins. That’s what I’ve done.”


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