McHugh had to wait out a marathon Saturday that included a rain delay as cars were about to be pushed on to the circuit for the final to race his way into Aussie speedway history.
McHugh now adds the National Title to his Grand Annual Sprintcar Classic success of four years ago.
“I really can't believe we just won that – despite the delay and the track issues with the rain it was a bloody good final,” McHugh said.
“It was probably the worst I've ever felt coming into the Titles, we've just been off all season, so to get this result is unbelievable really.”
McHugh went toe-to-toe in a pulsating final, racing wheel-to-wheel with former national champion Jamie Veal and current Aussie #1 Jock Goodyer.
The trio at one stage raced three wide down the back straight in a brilliant spectacle as the race went non-stop over the 40 lap final in front of a heaving Warrnambool crowd.
McHugh led home Veal who finished second on his home circuit and Goodyer was third as he now hands the A1 over to his good friend.
“To start sixth on the third row we knew we were going to need some luck on our side, and the rain did that for us,” McHugh said.
“The weather changed the track late and my guys set the car up perfectly, I was able to go high and low which made the difference in the end.”
Such was the brutal speed of the final, McHugh lapped everyone up to fifth in the race.
Behind McHugh, Veal and Goodyer was Victorian Jordyn Charge in fourth and veteran Grant Anderson fifth.
The hard luck story belonged to the polesitter and early race leader Brock Hallett.
After finishing second last Sunday in the Classic and winning Wednesday's rescheduled Presidents Cup at Avalon, Hallett broke a driveline while leading the opening laps, ending his hopes.
The biggest storyline of the night occurred moments prior to the green flag, with the race's biggest name, James McFadden, suffering a freak engine failure before taking the start.
It continued a horror of luck for the Australian World of Outlaws star this summer.
“I struggle to put into words how unlucky we've been this campaign back home,” McFadden said.
“I'm shattered for the guys that put this program together – it's been a bit cruel how it's played out. We've been super fast every night and got absolutely nothing to show for it… but that's racing, unfortunately.”
McFadden returns to America next week to begin his USA season where he'll race on the new High Limit tour.
Next year's Australian Sprintcar Championships will be held at South Australia's Murray Bridge at the end of January.