Quick takeaways from Sonoma: A final lap to remember

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Nick Bromberg
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Throughout 2016 we may have way too many quick thoughts for our post-race posts. So consider our Takeaways feature to be the home of our random and sometimes intelligent musings. Sometimes the post may have a theme. Sometimes it may just be a mess of unrelated thoughts. Make sure you tweet us your thoughts after the race or email your post-race rants via the link in the signature line below

• NASCAR's year of great finishes had another added to the ledger on Sunday as Tony Stewart and Denny Hamlin traded contact twice in the final half lap on Sunday at Sonoma.

Hamlin first got into Stewart in turn 7 and Stewart paid Hamlin back in turn 11. Hamlin said he was mirror-driving Stewart and went high into the corner. His car appeared to shake under braking, but Hamlin said he didn't wheel hop it.

[Related: Tony Stewart wins at Sonoma]

The Daytona 500 winner took a higher line into the corner – drivers usually enter turn 11 really low to play it defensively – and gave Stewart the inside line in the corner. With Hamlin between him and the wall, Stewart knew that the race was his if he could bounce his car off Hamlin's. And that's exactly what he did.

• Stewart's win is also the second massively popular win of the season (after Martin Truex Jr.'s at Charlotte) and one of the most popular in recent memory. Maybe the ending of Sunday's race is close-finish karma for Hamlin, who beat Truex by inches in the Daytona 500 -- a race Stewart has never won.

• While Stewart's presence at the front of the field over the last 20 laps of the race was certainly a great story, it was an embarrassing display of professionalism from Fox's announcing team. The outright cheering the broadcast booth of Mike Joy, Jeff Gordon and Darrell Waltrip was doing for Stewart was downright ridiculous.

The cheering has, sadly, been come to be expected from Waltrip throughout the course of the season but Joy even dropped an "Oh poop" that Waltrip followed with an "Amen" when the caution flag came out for Michael McDowell's stalled car and erased a lead that Stewart had built up.

Can you imagine the reaction if Fox announcer Joe Buck said "Oh poop" and Troy Aikman or John Smoltz responded with "Amen" when a favorite came back to tie an underdog in the Super Bowl or the World Series? Why should that type of cheerleading be acceptable in NASCAR?

Stewart winning is one of the biggest stories of the NASCAR season and provides the series with a storyline that blends Gordon's 2015 retirement with Kyle Busch's comeback to the Chase title all into a single theme that even non-NASCAR fans can take interest in. But the desire for a good story or the favoritism shown to a driver in the lead shouldn't affect the call of the race like it did on Sunday.

• Outside of what happened at the end of Sunday's race, Gordon gets high marks for his broadcasting debut. His corrections of Waltrip throughout their race telecasts and his accurate predictions were a strong suit and a much-needed boost to the broadcast.

• Back to the racing. Did you notice that Joey Logano finished third behind Hamlin and Stewart? He's becoming quite the road racer.

We wondered if radio transmissions from Tony Stewart and Brad Keselowski were associated with one another after we read about them on Twitter. They came jus as Stewart had passed Keselowski for position. According to Keselowski's spotter, they were not. So we're now left to wonder who the culprit(s) are.

• The win is Stewart's eighth road course win and his third at Sonoma.

• AJ Allmendinger finished 14th after he came back from an uncontrolled tire penalty on his final pit stop. Allmendinger restarted 26th and gained 12 spots on the final run of the race. He led 20 laps and once again had one of the best cars throughout the race. His best, and maybe only, chance to make the Chase comes at Watkins Glen in August.

• Clint Bowyer ended up last after his car caught fire just five-plus laps into the race. Maybe if you bought a Clint Bowyer No. 15 shirt before the season you should get a free No. 14 shirt when he moves to Tony Stewart's car for the 2017 season and beyond.

Bowyer was his usual blunt self after the incident.

"It caught on fire," Bowyer said. "Smoke is never good in the cockpit and it stinks. Hell, I couldn’t breathe.”

We're looking forward to more fun Bowyer quotes in the future.

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Nick Bromberg is the editor of From The Marbles on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at nickbromberg@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!