NASCAR’s Chase for the Championship starts this weekend, and Stafford Township’s Martin Truex Jr. is involved for the first time since 2007.

Truex is optimistic he will get off to a strong start to the 10-race, 12-driver playoffs, which begin at Chicagoland Speedway.

“I think it’s pretty important to get off to a good start in the Chase,” Truex said in quotes provided this week by his team, Michael Waltrip Racing. “I don’t think it’s devastating if you don’t, but I think it’s important to get the momentum heading in the right direction.”

Truex led 14 laps before finishing 18th last year at Chicagoland, and the year before he finished 11th.

“Chicago has been a good track for us in the past and I think we have a really good shot at a solid finish there,” he said. “I think it’s a great place for us to gain some valuable momentum for the start of this Chase.”