The late season Nor’easter that’s bearing down on Vermont won’t dampen the spirits of driver, race teams and fans as the ACT Late Model Tour and Thunder Road stock car race seasons kick off this weekend (March 17-18) at the University Mall in So. Burlington, VT with the annual Race Car Show. The Mall, the largest indoor shopping complex in the state, will play host to some 20 ACT and Thunder Road Late Models, NAPA Tiger Sportsmen, Allen Lumber Street Stocks and NEKC Go-Karts.

Even though the snow may be swirling around outside several past and current ACT Champions will take advantage of a little early “seat time” in a special “Champions Challenge” when they strap into race car simulators at the at the Ultimate Race Experience. Current and six-time ACT Champion, Jean-Paul Cyr is slated to go head-to-head against five-time title holder, Brian Hoar at 6:00 pm on Saturday (March 17). Hoar will be returning to full time ACT competition in 2007 after several years of action on the Busch East Tour.

“I always look forward to running against Jean,” Hoar stated. “I’ve got some experience racing in those simulators which I hope will play to my advantage,” he finished.

Cyr will then take on legendary six-time Tour Champion, Tampa, Florida’s Robbie Crouch on Sunday (March 18) at 4:00 pm. Crouch, known as the “Tampa Tornado,” will return to the driver’s seat for the first time in some ten years when he straps in to David Storey’s potent Chevrolet in the ACT Tour season opener on April 28 at Maine’s Oxford Plains Speedway.

While Crouch has not previously raced in a simulator he does have actual race experience on one of the tracks available for competition – Daytona. Crouch, as well as several other Tour competitors of the time took their Late Models to Florida in the 1980s in an attempt to qualify for Saturday’s Busch race. Many of them did.

In addition to the Daytona, other tracks available for the competitors to select for the ACT Champions Challenge are Richmond, Bristol, Atlanta, Loew’s Motor Speedway, Indianapolis and a road course. The simulators are painted up to look like the cars of Dale Earnhardt Jr, Tony Stewart, Bobby Labonte, Ryan Newman and Mark Martin.

Race fans may have the opportunity of racing against one or more of the champions as well as other drivers in attendance, following the competitions.

The Ultimate Race Experience, located near the food court at the University Mall, also has an arcade as well as racing related merchandise and apparel.