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Their secret to a long, happy marriage includes a '69 Camaro and drag racing at 140 mph

Mick Alley of Eagle won the Stock eliminator in his 1969 Camaro at the 32nd annual NHRA JEGS Allstars event in 2016 in Joliet, Ill.
Mick Alley of Eagle won the Stock eliminator in his 1969 Camaro at the 32nd annual NHRA JEGS Allstars event in 2016 in Joliet, Ill. Courtesy of Firebird Raceway

Mick Alley once spent a weekend in jail because of street racing.

But then he smartened up, married Jackie Schacher and turned his illegal antics into a lifetime family sport at Firebird Raceway in Eagle.

"Growing up in Grangeville, you don't have any racetracks near you, so the street is your racetrack," he said. "(Firebird) just seemed like such a better idea without the police chasing you and going to jail."

The Alley family is among nearly 400 racers participating in the 48th annual NAPA Auto Parts Ignitor this Saturday and Sunday at Firebird.

They compete in the Division 6 Lucas Oil Drag Race Series — Mick drives his rally green 1969 Camaro in the Stock class and Jackie a viper red '69 Camaro in Super Stock.

Mick started drag racing at Firebird in 1994, and Jackie joined him in 1996. The two met while attending Grangeville High and were married in 1986. The Alleys own the Big O Tires on Main Street in Boise.

"Jackie came out for one year and watched, and then said, 'I'm not a watcher, I'm a doer,'" Mick said. "She wasn't just going to sit in the stands."

Mick had Jackie practice burnouts in the parking lot of their Big O Tires store on a Sunday morning before she attempted her first race in a 1970 Chevelle Super Sport — a car they still have today.

"I won my first race, so I was completely hooked at that point," Jackie said. "The first time you get around that corner and you look down that track, it's kind of ominous, I guess you might say. Now it's no big deal."

The Alleys have enjoyed their share of victories over the years — sometimes at the expense of one another. Both have won track championships at Firebird, along with divisional and national races. Jackie claimed Firebird's Pro class in 1998 and Mick came in second, and then the two reversed finishes in 1999.

The competition hasn't created any marital friction.

"It's just another race. It doesn't matter. Once you've staged the car, you're just concentrating on doing your job," Mick said. "That's one thing with drag racing, there's really no animosity there. It's you doing your job against the other driver in their car. If you can beat somebody, great. If you don't, next week's another race."

Mick and Jackie's twin daughters, Courtney and Brittany, each earned varsity letters in drag racing while at Eagle High. If their girls, who are now 26, aren't at the track with them, Mick and Jackie's 4-year-old dog Willy — a Christmas gift from the twins — can be found lazily napping in the trailer as the two fine-tune their cars.

Their shared love of racing has helped fuel a 32-year marriage and countless wins.

"It's something we do together, and we both love it," Jackie said. "It's not like he's out there by himself and I'm sitting at home mad."

At Firebird's 2011 Ignitor, the Alleys became the first husband and wife to win NHRA events at the same time. Jackie won Super Stock that year and Mick won the Stock class.

Jackie says Mick usually beats her when they race head to head, but Mick contends that Jackie has much quicker reflexes, which helped her become just the fourth woman to win an NHRA world championship and only the second female to do so in the highly competitive sportsman categories.

Mick added a national event win of his own at the 32nd annual NHRA JEGS Allstars in 2016 in Joliet, Illinois.

But he's not fighting his wife for the spotlight.

"It's always more fun than me winning. I'm always more excited for her," Mick said. "When I win it's just kind of, 'cool.' When she wins there's a little bit of a 'yee-haw' in there."

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