Chase Elliott can breathe a huge sigh of relief.

On Sunday at Watkins Glen, the Dawsonville native won his first-ever NASCAR Cup race, holding off Martin Truex Jr. in a crazy final lap, full of twists and (right) turns.

How surreal was the experience? The 22-year-old Elliott, the son of racing legend Bill Elliott (44 career victories), actually ran out of gas after passing the checkered flag; but in a poignant, touching moment, Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jimmie Johnson ended up pushing Elliott to Victory Lane.

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Sunday's exhilarating race was Elliott's 99th outing of his Cup career, but it wasn't his first major flirtation with a win. In a three-year span, Elliott has eight second-place finishes on his career resume.

But that nugget serves as a mere footnote now, in lieu of the breakthrough performance at The Glen.

"Holy cow. What a thrill! I don't know what to say. So emotional. So much relief," Elliott told the Associated Press. "I've been working on this for three years. Finally able to get it done. I hope all my friends back home are ready to get rowdy because it's going to be a party tonight. ... What a day."

The quirky track at Watkins Glen required only 90 laps for this NASCAR Cup event; but it was a fitting number on this day, with Elliott, Truex and Kyle Busch accounting for the vast majority 'leader laps.'

And it essentially became a two-horse race for the final 20-plus laps, with Truex closely tailing Elliott at nearly every turn ... but never possessing enough oomph to score the ultimate pass.

The reason behind Busch's absence? A fuel mishap at a pit stop greatly hindered his chances at victory. On the plus front, Busch (49 career victories) overcame the setback to finish in third place.