With the 25th anniversary of Harris DeVane’s victory in the ARCA Menards Series quickly approaching, the Georgia Peanut Commission approached Todd Gilliland with the idea of bringing back the classic Georgia Peanuts car – and Gilliland accepted. In both the Atlanta Speedway later this month and the Talladega Superspeedway in October, the NASCAR Cup Series Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender will sport Georgia Peanuts’ branding on his No. 38 Ford Mustang.
What makes this partnership so special? Well, back in the early 90s, Harris DeVane started competing in the ARCA Racing Series. Though he made 59 starts in the Series, the peanut farmer and Georgia native only won once – in 1997, at the Atlanta Motor Speedway, under the Georgia Peanuts banner.
“It’s really exciting to be able to represent Georgia Peanuts this year,” said Gilliland. “They have a lot of history in stock car racing and racing at the Atlanta Motor Speedway. I just want to continue that tradition and represent all the peanut farmers and the Georgia Peanuts brand to the best of my ability. It’s a great history to be a part of and continue.”
Joe Boddiford, Promotion Committee Chairman for the Georgia Peanut Commission, had similar feelings about the throwback. “We’re proud to support Todd Gilliland this year in his rookie season, and we’re excited to do it on the 25th anniversary of our last win at the Atlanta Motor Speedway. We hope that Todd can make more memories for us this season and look forward to his races with us.”
NASCAR Driver Todd Gilliland Holds ARCA Menards Series Record
The Georgia Peanuts Commission couldn’t have picked a better candidate to represent them in the 2022 ARCA Menards Series. This is because Todd Gilliland holds the record for the youngest ever ARCA Menards Series winner.
In 2015, Todd Gilliland crossed the checkered line at the Toledo Speedway, taking first place in the race – two days after he turned 15. At this point, you might be thinking, “Fifteen?! Is that even allowed?” And the answer is, yes. At this specific type of race, it is.
On this day in 2015, Todd Gilliland won the Menards 200 at Toledo Speedway. pic.twitter.com/59kMrjqmFZ— Racing Past (@RacingPast) May 18, 2017
Though the typical minimum age for NASCAR drivers is 18, drivers as young as 17 can drive on speedway tracks. And if the track is less than one mile in length or is a road course, approved drivers can be as young as 15.
The thought of a practically 14-year-old child careening around a NASCAR track is a little terrifying. The only thing NASCAR driver Todd Gilliland felt about his age, however, was pride.
“This means a lot,” Gilliland said after his 2015 victory. “I’m 15 and two days and you have to be 15 to race, so it’s going to be hard to beat. I kind of doubted myself a little bit. I didn’t know if I could get back up there [after wrecking], but I guess I could.”