This weekend's event at Martinsville marks the first event of the new campaign for which this season's owner's points are used to lock in the top 35. As it stands, there's a log jam around the 35th spot in the standings.
Front Row Motorsports' No. 37 entry currently has the spot with 355 points, but it's only by a slim nine points back to Robby Gordon Motorsports' No. 7 (346) and 13 points over Latitude 43 Motorsports' No. 26 (343). It should probably note that 34th place, held by FRM's No. 34, isn't too far out of site; the team has 374 points. (See Owners Standings)
For the Martinsville event, Front Row Motorsports is making an effort to get its No. 37 off the hot seat. For this weekend's race, FRM will move veteran David Gilliland from its No. 38 entry (currently 32nd in points) to the No. 37, and is subsequently moving the rookie Kevin Conway to the No. 38. (See Entry List)
One has to wonder if this switch is based on points or performance.
The obvious guess is points. Gilliland has been the most impressive driver in FRM's stable so far this season, and Conway seems to be working through the learning curve in his first season in Cup. Basically, the No. 38 has more points to lose than the No. 37. So, why not put the veteran wheelman in the 37?
On the flip side, this move could be about performance. Since Gilliland has arguably been outperforming his teammates, Conway and Travis Kvapil, why not turn him loose in all the team cars to help bring the entire organization up to speed? Obviously, this argument is only valid if drivers are indeed switching cars, and not just number decals. Remember, such a tactic did wonders for Team Red Bull a couple of years ago, when Mike Skinner's brief role helped ramp up A.J. Allmendinger's success. Anyway...
Front Row Motorsports' move begs the question: points or performance? I'm guessing points.