Kurt Busch said he recognizes his actions in NASCAR's season finale at Homestead – cursing at an ESPN pit reporter and being caught flipping his middle finger – were inappropriate and can't happen again.
The Penske Racing driver, who was fined $50,000 by NASCAR for the incidents, also said he's seeing a sports psychologist about controlling his anger after races.
"You can work 364 days on being positive and building a better platform, and it can take just one day to knock it all back," he said Thursday in Las Vegas. "I need to harness what happens in the race car and keep it there, and then I need to step out of the car and understand that if we didn't reach our goal for that day or that moment, that it's going to be alright at the end."
Busch said he also understands "I need to be a better person on the radio, to the team, as a leader." He indicated a belief that NASCAR's fine was fair.
"My actions were were inappropriate," he said. "I feel like (NASCAR officials) have to control the sport in a positive way. What I did wasn't very positive. And so we'll look at it and decide what we need to do moving forward on how we need to react to it. ... We've got things to fix."
Busch said his anger toward ESPN's Dr. Jerry Punch stemmed from being told the No. 22 car's broken transmission had damaged Tony Stewart's championship-contending car earlier in the race.
The driver said he was already upset about likely finishing 11th in the points – and thus the "first loser" in Las Vegas for the banquet (only the top 10 drivers make speeches at Friday's ceremony). When Punch broke the news that Busch's car had hurt Stewart's Chase title hopes, Busch was enraged because he thought former owner Jack Roush might win the championship with Carl Edwards.
"I realized, 'My car is taking away a shot at Tony's championship,'" Busch said. "I used to work for the guys who Carl races for, and that was the first thing that flashed through my mind: 'I took Stewart's chances away.'"
As for the speculation Busch was actually flipping off the First Lady (his finger was directed at Michelle Obama's SUVs), the driver said he was simply upset that vehicles were blocking his garage stall.
"My car was dead; I didn't have any power to move forward," he said. "There were all these SUVs parked in front of my car. I don't know who it was or what was going on. ... (The gesture wasn't for) nobody in general."
Though Busch was rebuked by sponsor Shell-Pennzoil, the driver said his job was not in jeopardy.
"As the sponsor is concerned, yes, they're agitated about what happened at Homestead," he said. "But looking forward, we can find better things."
In other news, Busch is looking for a new crew chief after Steve Addington bolted for Stewart-Haas Racing, where he'll be atop Stewart's pit box next season.
Busch said he and Addington departed "as friends" with a handshake, even though Busch was surprised when he heard Addington might leave in October.
Former Stewart crew chief Darian Grubb is "an option," Busch said, but Penske is more likely to promote someone who is already with the organization.
He cited the successful pairing of teammate Brad Keselowski and crew chief Paul Wolfe – who came through the Penske system – and said "I think internally, we're going to find our key guy."
"I need a Jimmy Fennig – a lead veteran," Busch said. "I need somebody that's going to respect what I've done, but also control me in a way that is positive. I like to look up to guys.
"If we find that right person, it's going to be somebody who is able to manage the crew, get the best out of the over-the-wall guys and understand what I need out of the race car – and be able to put me back in my box when I get out of it."