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NASCAR America: Next seven races are most important before playoffs

Following the off week, five of the next seven races will be at playoff courses, giving teams the ability to gather data for the playoff in the fall.

The first leg of the NASCAR Cup season is in the rear-view mirror for teams as the sport finishes its first off break of the season.

The Cup Series won’t have another weekend off until June.

NASCAR America’s Steve Letarte explained why the next seven races are the most pivotal for teams before the playoffs.

Five of the seven tracks the series will visit - Texas, Richmond, Talladega, Dover and Kansas - are in the playoffs.

“When you go to five of the next seven races in the playoffs, you have to somehow find more speed out of your race cars and build those notebooks for later in the year,” Letarte said. “This next stretch (is) vitally important.”

Charlotte will be in the playoffs, but it will be raced on in its road course configuration.

After Parker Kligerman discussed what his mindset as a driver would be race-to-race, Letarte talked about the difference in driver and crew chief responsibilities.

“A driver needs to focus on one, a crew chief has 80 or 90 employees,” Letarte said. “With it taking five, six, seven weeks to turn a race car around, that means you have to be working four, five, six weeks ahead. I wish it was only about one race at a time. But it’s not that simple. It turns into one race at a time Friday morning when the garage opens.’'

Watch the above video for more.