Busch took the lead with 16 laps to go on a smooth pass around Denny Hamlin in thick traffic and stayed there through a pair of cautions. Busch had driven away from the competition when the 15th and final caution set up overtime.
With Busch and Gordon running 1-2 at the restart, the two plotted their own strategy with their respective crew chiefs.
Well, good job guys, Busch sighed at the final caution. Well do what we can. I cant promise you anything.
Hell be nice, crew chief Alan Gustafson said. Hell play nice.
It didnt sound that way on Gordons channel.
Tell that 5, if I get a fender underneath him, he better think about the fact that were teammates, Gordon
said. If I dont get a fender underneath him, I wont move him out of the way.
It never mattered, though, as Burton jumped past Gordon on the restart and quickly pulled onto Buschs rear bumper.
Burton looked low and Busch threw a block, then he went high and Busch blocked that, too.
Burton finally pulled alongside Busch as they closed in on the finish line, but Busch nipped him at the flag for his first Nextel Cup victory on a short track.
Both drivers could have spun Busch to get past him, and the 21 year old appreciated the veterans for racing him clean.
Without Jeff Gordon and Jeff Burton behind me, I never would have won this race, Busch said.
Burton owed it to Busch, especially after their stirring finish two weeks ago in Las Vegas. The two were battling for the win in the closing laps and Busch could have wrecked Burton to get it.
But Busch kept it clean, ultimately losing the fight as the cars touched and Busch spun backward across the finish line just a tick behind Burton.
I could have used the bumper to move him out of the way and win the race, but I didnt want to, Burton said. I can lay in bed tonight and wonder What if? but thats what I chose to do. If you cant pass him without knocking him out of the way, do the best you can. Hes driven me clean, and thats what I did with him.
Gordon, the polesitter, wound up third and was thrilled with the effort after struggling for most of the race.
We struggled yesterday in practice and we fought really hard today, Gordon said. Were fortunate. We stayed on the lead lap. Im really happy for Kyle.
Buschs win was the third straight for Hendrick Motorsports Jimmie Johnson won the past two Cup events and was the 200th overall win for car owner Rick Hendrick.
It alkso was the 600th for manufacturer Chevrolet, which introduced the Impala SS this weekend to coincide with NASCARs debut of the Car of Tomorrow.
The COT spent seven years in development as NASCAR tried to build a uniform car that would cut costs, improve safety and even the competition. It will be used in 16 races this season as NASCAR phases it in through the 2009 season.
Its introduction had teams fretting for months over performance and the many unknowns the COT created.
But when the race finally began, everything seemed pretty normal. Except for the design of the cars, which have a front splitter and a detachable rear wing, nothing was out of the ordinary.
And the worst fears that the track would be littered with parts and pieces everytime one of them wrecked never developed. But the drivers said its too early to pass judgment. The car races again next week at Martinsville Speedway, another short track, before getting its first true test next month in Phoenix.
If the car is safer and races better, then I am all for it, Gordon said. But we cant answer that question this weekend.
Kevin Harvick finished fourth and was followed by Greg Biffle, Jeff Green and Dale Earnhardt Jr. Clint Bowyer finished eighth and Jamie McMurray and Casey Mears rounded
out the top 10