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8:48 PM Tue, Jan. 22nd

Local race car enthusiast chosen for Junkyard Wars television show

Kingman resident Alicia Stirling, 29, will be the captain of an all-female team called "Wenches with Wrenches" on the popular cable television show, "Junkyard Wars."

The program gives two tool-toting teams10 hours to create the biggest, fastest, or strongest "whatever" with parts they scrounge from a junkyard.

Stirling's team will compete against the "Custom Cruisers," an all-male team that shares a love of customizing classic cars.

"I have watched the show many times," Stirling said.

"I am amazed at some of the things they come up with.

I hope we can do the same."

Stirling and her two teammates, who met on the drag race circuit, will compete in a junkyard in Sun Valley, Calif., on Tuesday and Wednesday.

The segment will be shown next fall, said Lisa Spiro of the cable channel TLC (The Learning Channel).

"This will be only the second time in three seasons we have had an all-female team," Spiro said.

"This group sounds really neat.

We are excited about it."

Alicia Stirling is not the stereotypical 29-year-old woman.

She grew up building dragsters with her father, Robert Stirling, and raced and modified motocross bikes before graduating to drag racing.

She is now an assistant racecar fabricator at Stirling Racing, a family business.

"I more of less grew up at the drag race track," Stirling, the youngest of four girls, said.

"We went to watch my dad every weekend."

When she was 19, Stirling started competing in motocross races, and when she was 25 began racing dragsters.

"I have been involved in some sort of motor sports all my life," she said.

Since moving to Kingman two years ago, Stirling has helped her father build custom dragsters, working on the aluminum bodies and the "wings" that make the vehicle aerodynamic.

But it was while traveling the drag race circuit through California, Phoenix, Tucson, and as far away at Columbus, Ohio, that Stirling met her Junkyard Wars teammates.

"I know them both really well," Stirling said.

"Geri Lyn Steiner and I grew up together while traveling with our families to race tracks," she said.

Steiner now looks after the safety equipment for her father's team and is a part-time wrestler.

The other team member, Pammy Utterback, got into drag racing through music when her all-girl band "The Neptunas" became regular performers at race tracks.

Now she is "addicted" to the races and is a freelance reporter who writes for racing magazines, Stirling said.

Stirling's mother, Diane, said Alicia has been branching into other areas lately.

She co-wrote and recorded a CD called "Running On 8" last year, and may be back from her Junkyard Wars stint in time to sing the National Anthem at the Kingman Street Drags II on May 4-5.

Spiro said the Wenches with Wrenches team was chosen from thousands of applicants to the competition.

They will be given their challenge the day of the event, along with an expert in the field of the day's competition, although "they are the ones that build it," she said.

Past teams have had to build everything from piloted flying machines and steam cars to underwater breathing equipment.

The winners of each competition advance to the next round of a single-elimination tournament and take on another mechanical challenge, and another team.

Junkyard Wars can be seen on TLC at 6 p.m.

and 7 p.m.

Sundays and 9 p.m.