But the worst was on lap 174, when Jason Leffler and Aric Almirola closed up on the rear of Sadler's car in turn 3. Too intent on his own battle, Leffler gave a light tap on the back of the #2 which sent Sadler spinning, collecting Almirola against the wall and leaving Leffler no where to go but into the wreck that he'd sparked. Morgan Shepherd and Jeremy Clements also ended up running into the mess, and a ten minute red flag was required for the clean-up.
"I'm sure that the video shows that the #38 just ran right into the back of us," said an angry Sadler afterwards. "Not much respect for guys running for the championship. It's very frustrating. You work all season long to put yourself in a situation, and it all goes away in a split second."
"I was racing Aric, but I take full responsibility," admitted Leffler. "I ran right into the back of [Sadler]. It wasn't on purpose. It was a mistake on my part ... He's a good driver, a smart driver, so obviously he lifted early to keep from blowing the corner."
There were still 20 laps to go when the race did finally restart with Sam Hornish Jr. ahead of Brad Keselowski, Carl Edwards, Joey Logano: that quartet went on to finish in exactly that order, but fifth-placed Clint Bowyer lost places to Roush Fenway Racing youngsters Stenhouse and Trevor Bayne before the chequered flag came out.
In the Nationwide Series championship, Sadler's late-race crash all-but handed Ricky Stenhouse Jr. the 2011 title, as the young Roush Fenway Racing driver is now 41pts ahead of second-place Sadler in the points. Justin Allgaier, Aric Almirola and Reed Sorenson are all over a hundred points adrift of Stenhouse and out of the running.
Further back Ricky Carmichael avoided the on-track incidents to make it to the chequered flag in 15th place in the Saturday evening race - having already been involved in one wreck too many during the weekend when his road car was badly damaged on the local highway on Friday night.
The front of Carmichael's car was caved in by a flying tyre from another vehicle as he and his wife drove to dinner on State Highway 85 in Buckeye, Ariz. shortly after 6pm local time.
"Two cars in front of me swerved," explained Carmichael on Saturday. "The actual car in front of me got sideswiped. When he did, it blew his left front off, and the tyre was floating in the air like a torpedo. I was trying to get out of the way of the truck and the tire just hit our car.
"It's probably the scaredest I've ever been for my life, to be honest with you," he said, but fortunately neither he nor his wife - nor a third passenger in his car - were injured in the incident and Carmichael went on to compete in the race as normal. "I definitely cheated something really bad there. Really, I don't even like to think about it."
Full race results and positions