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Posted: Jun 04, 2013

OPTIMA® Faceoff Preview- Herb Stuart's Mercury Cougar

We invite cars at every qualifying event for the 2013 OPTIMA Ultimate Street Car Invitational, presented by Royal Purple and KN Filters and last year at Road America, Herb Stuart was one of the lucky few who received an invitation. Herb had a great time at SEMA and in the 2012 OUSCI and we think the fact that he's back at the OPTIMA Faceoff in 2013 speaks to the experience he had.

With a year of experience under his belt, Herb has now focused his attention on further dialing in his 1968 Mercury Cougar, which is powered by a late-model V8 out of a 1999 Mustang Cobra. Over the winter, he added larger, stickier tires on the back end, upgraded the fuel system, added a new transmission crossmember from Ron Morris Performance.and tweaked the suspension for better handling on the road course. In fact, Herb just finished running at a Northwoods Shelby Club event at Gingerman Raceway in Michigan, to get prepared for the Faceoff.

Even though the Cougar spends a fair amount of time on the track, it is still very much a street car and has been on many roadtrips throughout Wisconsin, Niagara Falls, and Canada, including a ferry ride to Manitoulin Island. Those of you who followed the 2012 OUSCI may remember Herb teaches Tech Ed at Oconto High School and runs a student racing club - Oconto Beat the Heat. Much to his wife, Johanne's dismay, Herb spends more time on the Beat the Heat and Electrathon cars than he does on his own. However, there is a good reason for that. Herb believes kids today need positive, intelligent programs that help them focus on the future. It doesn't hurt that Stuart also enjoys hanging out with them and sharing his passion for automobiles.

At the high school level, Herb is very concerned that the next generation may not have the "gearheads" that currently help the automakers and automotive aftermarket survive and thrive. He believes the programs he is involved in help these kids get engaged and immersed in car culture, much like OPTIMA's Build-A-Bike program encourages kids to start turning wrenches and customizing bikes at an even younger age. We applaud Herb for his efforts and look forward to seeing him back at the 2013 OPTIMA Faceoff at Road America.

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