Elliott, who for all practical purposes needed a win to advance to the title race next weekend at Phoenix, came up with his best performance at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway on Sunday, leading 236 of 500 laps and easily held off Ryan Blaney at the finish to clinch the victory.
With the win, Elliott will join Joey Logano, Denny Hamlin and Brad Keselowski as the four drivers who will compete for the 2020 series championship next weekend. Whoever finishes highest in the race among the four will be the champion.
The win is Elliott’s fourth of the season – a career-best – and second in the 10-race playoffs, which have proved especially timely.
Elliott’s appearance in the Championship 4 will give Chevrolet an opportunity to win Cup Series title for the first time since 2016.
“Biggest win ever for us. Just so proud,” Elliott said. “I feel like that’s what’s been missing these past four or five years, to perform when we don’t have a choice. To do that tonight, couldn’t ask for a better night. It’s unreal.
“Just unbelievable. Going to Phoenix, with a shot to win a championship. I can’t believe it.
“What more could you ask for?”
Joey Logano finished third in the race, Keselowski was fourth and Kurt Busch rounded out the top-five.
Completing the top-10 finishers were Alex Bowman, Aric Almirola, Clint Bowyer, Kyle Busch and Matt DiBenedetto.
Kevin Harvick, who won the regular season title, entered the final lap needing one more position to transfer to the Championship 4 and turned Kyle Busch, but Busch still ended up finishing ahead of Harvick when they crossed the finish line.
“Everybody kept battling there. I tried to run into the door of (Kyle Busch) there as a last ditch effort and spun him out,” Harvick said. “I’m sorry to him for that. Not a great three weeks for us.”