So if you can change anyone any week... What's the point of the bench?
Daytona 500 is the only race you get to see all the practices and quals. Usually, you have to set your 8 member team before qualifying. So, you will pick the drivers from the three groups that you think are the best at that particular track based on history and how hot they are going into the race (or rabbit's foot, or whatever else you want to use). However, after three practices and qualifying, you have better information to chose your starters on Sunday. Example:
Race at Texas
You have to set your 8 member team by 3am Thurs before practice or qual
A: 48 and 99
B: 5, 18, 55, 88
C: 21 and 83
After practice, you realize that 48 was faster than the 99 all weekend and qualified up front. Maybe, the 88 took a spin after quals; so, he has to go to the back of the pack. 18 wasn't as fast as the 5 or 55; so. you would rather save one of his 9 starts for somewhere else. So, you start:
Often though, as you can imagine, it won't be that straight forward. Maybe, the 48 and 99 both qual top 5 and were the two fastest cars in practice. Then, you just have to go with your gut. And equally as often, the car that was fast all weekend, won't show up on Sunday or will get crashed. While, another driver will finish top 10 based on pit strategy. And that's what makes it interesting. I also like having multiple drivers to follow on Sunday.