Kurt Busch hopes to keep his cool in this year's Chase and put his feud with Jimmie Johnson to rest as he vows to make the most of his chance of winning a second Sprint Cup title this year.
Last weekend at Richmond, Busch and the reigning champion clashed on the track twice, igniting once again a feud that has been going on for a couple of years already.
Earlier this season they had a heated discussion following a race at Pocono, after they made contact on the track while battling for position in the closing laps.
Last Saturday, right after the race, Busch told ESPN TV crews that Johnson needed to "learn to race" when questioned about their on-track exchange, saying also that the Hendrick Motorsports driver has beaten rivals because of superior equipment.
A few days later, the 2004 champion said he has talked to Johnson to try to put their feud behind as they both want to contend for this year's Sprint Cup title in the next 10 weeks. Busch said his focus is not placed solely on beating Johnson right now.
"Well we talked about it afterward and we don't need to continue to wreck racecars but we do need to continue to put on a good show," said Busch. "I mean, that's what our fans buy the tickets for and they want to see a genuine rivalry between drivers but we've got our work cut out for us in this Chase and the focus of 10 weeks.
"There's 12 drivers in this Chase, not just one other guy and we just need to stick to our guns on what's gotten us to this point and that's consistency. So for him and I, we're going to continue to race hard with each other but we know it's championship time now."
Despite his clash with Johnson, which ended up being costly for the five-time champion as he only managed a 31st place, Busch was able to recover to cross the line fifth. He admits anger often boosts his performances on the track, like his charge last Saturday night proved at Richmond.
"I would say that my tenacity on the track is definitely one that matches having that desire and that fire in the belly to be the best and to go out there and to race to win and to get the best finish each day," said Busch.
"That drive from within has drivers seeing red sometimes and I'm one who's guilty of that but I think I race better when I have anger. It just drives me to be my best and then you just have to snap out of it right after the race because you're coming back into the regular world. A lot of people don't see what drivers see through the windshield and what it takes to be successful."
Busch enters his sixth career Chase for the Sprint Cup next weekend at Chicagoland, which he will start from seventh place in the ranking, nine points behind his younger brother Kyle who leads the playoff.