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3 things to watch for in Sunday’s NASCAR Cup race at Sonoma

A repaved track and a former champion outside a playoff spot starting on the pole highlight Sunday’s Cup race at Sonoma Raceway.

10 races will remain in the regular season after Sunday afternoon’s race.

Here are three things to watch:

1. Pressure building for two former Cup champions

Joey Logano and Kyle Busch enter the race outside a playoff spot.

Logano is winless in his last 46 points races. Busch is winless in 36 points races, which ties the longest drought of his career.

Logano is 14 points below the cutline. Busch is 20 points below the cutline.

Logano will start on the pole; Busch starts 29th — his worst starting spot at Sonoma since 2010.

“This short-track package, which is the road course package as well, seems to suit us a little bit better, whatever those reasons are,” Logano said. “ … It seems like any time we can get off the gas pedal, our Penske cars are running a little bit better.

“We definitely have work to do on the mile-and-a-halves. I don’t think we’ve made many gains there yet, but we’ve got to capitalize on the next few weeks when you look at (Sunday), for sure, but also Iowa, New Hampshire – some good racetracks coming up.”

2. More mistakes?

The only other Cup road course race this season was at Circuit of the Americas in March and it had only two cautions — both for stage breaks. Might the same thing happen in today’s race?

Michael McDowell isn’t so sure.

“I think there will be more mistakes (Sunday) because you’re just pushing qualifying laps every lap and you’re trying to get the most out of it and it’s easy to overstep it,” he said. “It’s kind of like what we talked about with Bristol with the tire fall off.

“Typically, to be good here in the race you have to run 80 percent and at 80 percent you’re not really making mistakes, you’re just trying to take care of the tires and drive straight off the corner. (Sunday) you’ll be running at 100 percent every lap, and I think that any time you do that, there’s a good chance that you’ll make more mistakes.”

3. Another new winner?

There has been a different winner in each of the past eight Cup races.

Those winners are: Austin Cindric (World Wide Technology Raceway), Christopher Bell (Coca-Cola 600), Brad Keselowski (Darlington), Kyle Larson (Kansas), Denny Hamlin (Dover), Tyler Reddick (Talladega), Chase Elliott (Texas) and William Byron (Martinsville).

Six of the top 10 starters for the race have not won in that stretch. That includes pole-sitter Joey Logano and Ryan Blaney, who starts third. Both have yet to win a points race this season.

Others in the top 10 seeking their first win of the season are Alex Bowman (starting eighth), Ross Chastain (ninth) and Ty Gibbs (10th).