The ‘Fastest Woman On Four Wheels’ has died. Jessi Combs, a record-breaking racer, perished in a jet-powered car crash. As the racing world mourns the loss, here’s what you need to know.
Jessi Combs 39, died on Aug. 27 while trying to break her own land-speed record in southeast Oregon, according to Road And Track. The driver, dubbed the “Fasted Woman On Four Wheels,” was piloting a jet-powered land-speed card on the Alvord Desert — a dry lake bed where several land-speed records have been set — when she suffered the fatal crash. The Harney County Sheriff’s Office said it received a 911 call about an accident shortly after 4 pm, according to local reports. Though the authorities withheld the name of the victim, one member of Jessi’s team, Terry Madden, confirmed her death the following morning.
“I have never loved or been loved by anyone as much as this amazing woman [Jessi] she was truly my unicorn, and I enjoyed every single minute that I had with her,” he wrote on Instagram. ”She was the most amazing spirit that I have ever or will ever know. Unfortunately, we lost her yesterday in a horrific accident, I was the first one there and trust me we did everything humanly possible to save her!! I’m not ok, but she is right here keeping [me] going.” Terry said the family will release an official statement later on Aug. 28. As her friends, fans and family reel from this shock, here’s the scoop on this amazing woman.
She set the land-speed record in 2013. Born in Rapid City, South Dakota on July 27, 1983, Jessi would grow up to be one of the fastest women on the planet. On Oct. 9, 2013, she broke a 48-year-old women’s land speed record. She drove the North American Eagle Supersonic Speed Challenger in the Alvord desert, setting the record at 398.954 mph.
Jessi was also an accomplished-off road racer. In addition to setting the land-speed record, Jessi was the first woman to place at Ultra4’s King of the Hammers. She took home a Class 10 podium finish at the Baja 100, per Road And Track, and became the first woman to compete in The Race of Gentlemen, racing a twin-engine 1913 Ford Model T. She had a first-place finish at the King of Hammers in 2016, which earned her the nickname, “Queen of Hammers.” In the racing world, she didn’t just break the glass ceiling, she drove a car right through it.
View this post on Instagram
So I don’t know how to say any of this but it all needs said. I have never loved or been loved by anyone as much as this amazing woman @thejessicombs she was truly my unicorn and I enjoyed every single minute that I had with her. She was the most amazing spirit that I have ever or will ever know. Unfortunately we lost her yesterday in a horrific accident, I was the first one there and trust me we did everything humanly possible to save her!! I’m not ok, but she is right here keeping my going-I made her a promise that if this didn’t go well that I would make sure and do good with it, please help me with that, you are all going to see things on news please believe non of them.. we the family have drafted a release and it will come out today with more proper info, but I was just woke up by the media tracking me down and I need everyone of her true friends to do what she would want “take a deep breath, relax” and do good things with this. Please donate to nothing, I know there will be people try, we are finishing the documentary as she wished and the world will know the truth and her foundation will use those funds to do amazing things in this world and make her legacy live on properly. In the coming days her family and I will get the proper channels put together that you can then donate to that foundation but until you hear it from me wait please-I don’t want some asshole profiting off this (all ready had one try to sell us a video)... . . Love you all and thank you all for being such amazing friends to her, she dedicated her life to helping support others dreams and I promise I will continue that.
A post shared by Terry L. Madden (@terry_madden) on
She was more than just a driver. In addition to being a talented driver, Jessi was known as being a skilled builder and fabricator. She graduated from WyoTech with a degree in costive automotive fabrication. She represented the American Welding Society, according to Jalopnik, and even designed her own line of women’s welding gear.
“I have a natural desire to be the best and to win, and so I learned how to fabricate,” she said in a 2014 interview. “It helps me become a better driver because I understand what’s going on internally and externally with my cars.”
Jessi was also a television star. Jessi a host and expert on shows like Xtreme 4×4, Overhaulin’, Truck U, and Two Guys Garage. She also was a host and builder on a season of Mythbusters.
Her great-grandmother got her in driving. “My father’s a mechanical engineer,” she told The Drive in 2017. “My great-grandmother used to race cars, so she would race anything from like Stanley steamers to Volkswagen Beetles. She would put all of these miles on these cloth tires, that were well beyond their rating. They were Goodrich tires…she ended up becoming a spokesmodel for Goodrich tires.”
Our thoughts are with Jessi’s family, friends, and fans during this time.