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Nationwide: Hornish clinches first series win

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 are available.




Related Pictures

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Morgan Shepherd races away as Danica Patrick spins in front of Brian Scott and Ricky Carmichael during the first caution in the NASCAR Nationwide Series Wypall 200 on Saturday at Phoenix International Raceway in Avondale, Ariz. [Photo Credit: Christian Petersen/Getty Images]
Elliott Sadler is towed back to the garage after the final caution of the day ended his run in the NASCAR Nationwide Series Wypall 200 on Saturday at Phoenix International Raceway in Avondale, Ariz. [Photo Credit: Geoff Burke/Getty Images for NASCAR]
Sam Hornish Jr. leads Brad Keselowski to a Penske Racing 1-2 finish on Saturday at Phoenix International Raceway in Avondale, Ariz. [Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR]
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Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS, celebrates his eighth Phoenix win Sunday, March 13, 2016 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Phoenix International Raceway in Avondale, Arizona. He won by a hundredth of a second, closest finish in NASCAR Sprint Cup History. This was Harvick`s 500th consecutive series start, a feat accomplished only by 14 others throughout the history of NASCAR. (Photo by Gregg Ellman for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John`s Chevrolet, leads Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Monster Energy / Haas Automation Chevrolet, during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Good Sam 500 at Phoenix International Raceway on March 13, 2016 in Avondale, Arizona.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 Skittles Toyota, leads the field to the green flag to start the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Good Sam 500 at Phoenix International Raceway on March 13, 2016 in Avondale, Arizona.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John`s Chevrolet, beats Carl Edwards, driver of the #19 Stanley Toyota, to the chequered flag to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Good Sam 500 at Phoenix International Raceway on March 13, 2016 in Avondale, Arizona.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/NASCAR via Getty Images)

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