DAYTONA BEACH — A driver for more than three decades, all the way back to his days of wheeling go-karts in Wisconsin, Paul Menard called his offseason move to Wood Brothers Racing the "coolest thing I've ever got a chance to do."

He'll sit behind the wheel of the iconic No. 21 Ford in Sunday's Daytona 500, the first opportunity for the 37-year-old veteran to reinvigorate his career.

"It's a tall order to win the Daytona 500, but man if we can make that happen, it would be insane," Menard said.

Wood Brothers reached an agreement with Menard in July, shortly after Team Penske revealed plans to add a third full-time Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series car. Ryan Blaney was on loan from Team Penske each of the last two seasons.

Menard's move was just one of many during NASCAR's "silly season," which also included Erik Jones replacing Matt Kenseth in the No. 20 Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing and Aric Almirola taking the wheel of the No. 10 Stewart-Haas Ford once driven by Danica Patrick.

To familiarize himself with his new team and his new ride, including crew chief Greg Erwin, Menard stayed in North Carolina the entire winter and logged a ton of hours around the garage.

"I spent a lot of time just getting fitted in the race car, getting the seat right, going through how all the switches work for a Ford (compared to) a Chevy," Menard said. "All that doesn't happen overnight; it takes time."

Menard believes it would be a disappointment if his team does not qualify for the Cup Series playoffs. Wood Brothers secured both a long-term charter through an agreement with Go Fas Racing and sponsorship from home improvement chain Menards, founded by Paul's father, John, for 22 races.

"It’s fantastic to have the ability to continue to race in the highest level of motorsports full-time and something we look forward to doing with Paul for years to come," co-owner Eddie Wood said in a statement after coming to terms with Menard. "I know this will allow us to continue to perform as an organization and will give Paul a great opportunity to go out there and compete for wins. Paul is not only a great driver with a lot of experience in the Cup Series, but he’s great with partners, which is a big part of what we do these days."

Since joining the Cup Series full-time in 2007, Menard has only one win to his credit, albeit it a memorable one. He kissed the bricks at Indianapolis in 2011.

Over seven years with Richard Childress Racing, Menard produced 17 top-five finishes but never averaged better than 15th for an entire season. He sat on the pole once in 252 career starts for RCR.

However, should Menard return to Victory Lane, at Daytona or elsewhere, he could achieve a monumental milestone for his new team.

The Wood Brothers enter the 2018 season with 99 Cup Series victories over the course of seven decades, most recently Blaney's success at Pocono last June. Trevor Bayne famously wheeled the No. 21 car to its 98th win, a massive upset in the 2011 Daytona 500.

"Obviously it would be really special to accomplish that task with the most historic team in NASCAR," Menard said. "You'd have to talk to me on Monday after the win, because I really don't know (how it would feel). But it would be pretty damn special."