For the first time since the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship format began it’ll start at a track other than New Hampshire. The 10-week Chase begins this Sunday with a 400-mile race at the 1.5 mile Chicagoland Speedway.

Jimmie Johnson will be gunning for his sixth consecutive Sprint Cup title. He’s the only driver to have been in the hunt every year since it began, but he won’t be starting at the top of the standings. Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch each share the lead heading into week one with Jeff Gordon 3 points back, Matt Kenseth is 6 points back with Johnson tied with Carl Edwards, Kurt Busch and Ryan Newman 9 points back.

Lot of eyes will be watching what happens between Johnson and Kurt Busch. The two have had a season-long feud going on and it was renewed last weekend at Richmond when they took turns running into each other. They spoke briefly after the race in hopes of resolving their issues. But it’s probably not over.  The two also had a run-in at Pocono in August when they traded paint on the final lap leading to a heated argument on pit road.

Among all the drivers in the Chase this year, Jeff Gordon has been the hottest picking up more points than any other driver. He claimed his third win of the season last week at Atlanta and since the July race at Daytona – he’s finished no worse than 13th.

Coming in a close second to Gordon among the hottest drivers – you’d have to nominate Brad Keselowski. He’s been red-hot since he broke his left ankle and hurt his back in a crash while testing on August 3rd in Atlanta. His three wins at Kansas, Pocono and Bristol -- helped him earn one of the two wild card seeds. He’s also earned the second most points (362) since the first weekend in July. He sat 22nd in points prior to Daytona.

Dale Earnhardt, Jr. fans are excited. Junior is in the Chase for the first time in three years. He’s the 10th seed, but he’s been steadily dropping in the rankings since he sat third after Talladega. He’s had only one top-10 finish in the last 12 races so he’s got a lot of work to do.

After Chicago, the Chase moves to New Hampshire.

More From 106.5 WYRK