Kurt Busch making strides in repairing reputation

JENNA FRYER AP Auto Racing Writer Published:

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) -- Kurt Busch does not want this season to be called a fresh start, and he doesn't want to declare himself a changed man.

But with a new team and a clean slate ahead of him, Busch has an opportunity to repair his tarnished reputation and learn how to enjoy life a little more.

He split with Penske Racing in early December after one too many public temper tantrums. The 2004 NASCAR champion is now driving for underfunded Phoenix Racing, and he's embraced this chance to make racing fun again.

Busch is the defending race winner of Saturday night's exhibition Budweiser Shootout. He wrecked his primary car in Friday's practice session at Daytona International Speedway, but was able to smile about the setback because he's taking a new approach this year.