After an angry outburst led him to toss a beer at the NHRA's black-tie awards banquet last fall, drag racer Spencer Massey was fired by team owner Don Schumacher.
But Massey has started anger-management counseling and Schumacher has given him a second chance, rehiring the driver to race in the top-fuel division of the National Hot Rod Assn.'s Mello Yello Drag Racing Series.
Massey is the defending winner of the NHRA Winternationals in Pomona, which starts Thursday and kicks off a new NHRA season.
"I'm so thankful Don is giving me another chance, and I promise not to let Don or my teammates down again," Massey said in a release posted on the NHRA's website.
Massey, a 30-year-old Texan, narrowly missed winning the championship in top fuel -- drag racing's premier class, where the cars top 320 mph -- for the second consecutive year in 2012.
After the season ended, he took a cooler of beer to the NHRA banquet on Nov. 12. At one point, "a couple crew guys from another team ... made a comment to me that I didn't appreciate," prompting Massey to throw a plastic bottle of beer to the ground, Massey recalled.
"My temper has gotten out of control, especially after we didn't win the championship, and that's why I've started to see a counselor to help me with some anger issues I have," Massey said.
"I came close to losing the biggest dream of my life," Massey added.
Schumacher said he believed "people sometimes deserve a second chance, and this is one of them. I'm impressed that Spencer made a decision to seek counseling for his temper."
Qualifying rounds for the Winternationals take place Thursday through Saturday, with final eliminations Sunday.