Jessi Combs

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Jessi Combs
Jessi Combs at SEMA Show 2012 (8158037371) (cropped).jpg
Jessi Combs at SEMA Show in 2012
Born(1980-07-27)July 27, 1980
DiedAugust 27, 2019(2019-08-27) (aged 39)
  • Racer
  • Metal Fabricator
  • Television Personality

Jessica Combs[1] (July 27, 1980 – August 27, 2019)[2] was an American professional racer, television personality, and metal fabricator. She set a women's land speed class record (four wheels) in 2013 and broke her own record in 2016. She was known as "the fastest woman on four wheels".[3]

She co-hosted the Spike TV show Xtreme 4x4 for more than 90 episodes from 2005 to 2009.[4] Other television shows she appeared on included Overhaulin', Mythbusters, The List: 1001 Car Things To Do Before You Die, All Girls Garage,[5] and Science Channel's How to Build... Everything in 2016.[6]

Combs died in a crash of a jet-powered high-speed race car in southeastern Oregon while attempting to beat her four-wheel land speed record.[7][8]


Combs was born in Rockerville, South Dakota,[9] on July 27, 1980,[2] the daughter of Jamie Combs and Nina Darrington.[4][10][11] The family moved to Piedmont, South Dakota, while she was two years old.[9] She had three siblings, Kelly Combs, Austin Darrington, Danielle Theis, and two stepsiblings, Rebekah Hall and Arielle Hall. She graduated from Stevens High School in 1998.[9] A local publication in Rapid City reported Combs' great-grandmother was Nina DeBow, a jazz pianist who raced Stanley Steamers.[11]

In 2004, Combs graduated from WyoTech in the Collision & Refinishing Core Program, as well as the Street Rod Fabrication and Custom Fabrication and High Performance Powertrain programs, all at the top of her class (she was briefly seen as a student of WyoTech during the sixth episode of the first season of Overhaulin). Following her graduation, Combs's first professional job came after the WyoTech marketing department hired her and another student to build a car from the ground up in six months to debut at the Specialty Equipment Marketing Association's (SEMA) show.[4]

Combs died during a land speed record attempt as part of the North American Eagle Project on August 27, 2019, in the Alvord Desert, Oregon.[2][3][7][8]

Combs’ two runs in opposite directions across Oregon’s Alvord Desert on Aug. 27 averaged 531.89 mph (855.99 km/h), which would break the current women’s land speed record of 512.71 mph (825.13 km/h), set in 1976 by Kitty O’Neil at the same location, and so her fatal land speed record attempt will be sent to Guinness for verification.[12]


Combs hosted the television show Xtreme 4x4, a part of the Powerblock, for four years. Following an on-set accident,[13] Combs announced in February 2008 that she would leave the show.[14]

2009, Combs appeared in twelve episodes of the seventh season of MythBusters while Kari Byron was on maternity leave.[15]

2011, Combs recorded an AOL Autoblog Show, The List: 1001 Car Things To Do Before You Die, an award-winning automotive-based adventure series. New episodes of The List continue to air with Combs's co-host Patrick McIntyre.[16]

2011 to 2014, Combs served as one of the hosts of All Girls Garage on Velocity (now Motor Trend network). The basis of the show was women repairing and upgrading new and classic automobiles.

2012, Combs became a co-host with Chris Jacobs for the sixth season of Overhaulin's re-launch on the Velocity and Discovery channels.

2018, Combs appeared on the Discovery channel panel show Break Room.

2018, Combs appeared on Jay Leno's Garage S4:E14 "More Power" as Jay Leno's guest driver of a Bugatti Chiron.


As a professional driver, Combs raced in a wide range of events and enjoyed many successes.

  • 2017 – Ultra 4 King of the Hammers – 12th – 4400 Class
  • 2016 – Ultra 4 King of the Hammers – 1st – EMC Modified Class [17]
  • 2015 – Rallye Aicha des Gazelles (off-road rally race) – 1st – First Participation – 10th overall
  • 2015 – SCORE Baja 1000 – 2nd – Class 7
  • 2014 – Ultra 4 King of the Hammers – 1st – Spec Class
  • 2014 – Ultra 4 National Championship – 1st – Spec Class
  • 2014 – Ultra 4 Western Region Series – 1st – Spec Class
  • 2014 – Ultra 4 American Rock Sports Challenge – 3rd – Spec Class
  • 2014 – Ultra 4 Glen Helen Grand Prix – 2nd – Spec Class
  • 2014 – Ultra 4 Stampede – 1st – Legends Class
  • 2013 – Set women's land speed record – 398 mph with a top speed of 440 mph
  • 2011 – SCORE Baja 1000 – 2nd – Class 10 [18]

On October 9, 2013, Combs drove the North American Eagle (NaE) Supersonic Speed Challenger at the Alvord desert, claiming the women's 4-wheel land speed record with an official run of 398.954 mph (632 km/h) and a top speed of 440.709 mph (709 km/h).[19] In doing so, she broke the 48-year-old women's land speed record, a 308.506 mph (496.492 km/h) run average set by Lee Breedlove in Spirit of America - Sonic 1 in 1965.[20] On September 7, 2016, Combs set a new top speed of 477.59 mph (768.61 km/h) driving the Other American Eagle.

Combs was also a 2014 Ultra 4 Spec Class National Champion with Falken Tire. In 2016, she took first place in King of the Hammers with the Savvy Off Road team in the EMC Modified Class and a 2017 12th-place finish in the Unlimited Class driving the same Stock Mod car.[21]


  1. ^ "Professional female driver and TV host dies attempting to break land speed record". ABC News. Retrieved August 28, 2019.
  2. ^ a b c "'Fastest Woman On Four Wheels' Jessi Combs Killed In Jet-Car Crash". Jalopnik. Gizmodo Media Group. August 28, 2019. Retrieved August 28, 2019.
  3. ^ a b Asmelash, Leah (August 29, 2019). "Race car driver Jessi Combs, known as the 'fastest woman on four wheels,' dies while trying to beat record". CNN. Retrieved August 29, 2019.
  4. ^ a b c "Jessi Combs Official Website". Retrieved August 28, 2019.
  5. ^ "Jessi Combs Official Website". Retrieved August 28, 2019.
  6. ^ "'How to Build... Everything' explores mankind's greatest inventions with fun flair — exclusive". May 27, 2016. Retrieved August 28, 2019.
  7. ^ a b Lerten, Barney (August 27, 2019). "Well-known racer killed in Alvord Desert land speed record attempt". KTVZ. Bend, Oregon. Retrieved August 28, 2019.
  8. ^ a b Chokshi, Niraj (August 28, 2019). "Jessi Combs, TV Host and Racecar Driver, Dies in Attempt at Land Speed Record: Ms. Combs died while operating a powerful jet-shaped car as she sought to claim a world record". New York Times. Retrieved August 28, 2019.
  9. ^ a b c Holland, Deb (August 7, 2017). "Combs races to the top of cycling world". Rapid City Journal. p. B1. Archived from the original on August 28, 2019. Retrieved August 28, 2019 – via
  10. ^ McBride, Jessica (August 28, 2019). "Jessi Combs' Family & Boyfriend: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know". Retrieved August 28, 2019.
  11. ^ a b Holland, Deb (August 7, 2017). "Black Hills native first woman grand marshal". Meade County Times Tribune. Retrieved August 28, 2019.
  12. ^ Gastelu, Gary (September 23, 2019). "JJessi Combs' fatal land speed record attempt to be submitted to Guinness". Retrieved September 23, 2019.
  13. ^ Teague, Chris (November 4, 2017). "Jessi Combs Sits Down And Drops Knowledge About Herself". The Drive. Retrieved August 29, 2019.
  14. ^ "Jessi Combs Named Spokesperson For WyoTech". Performance Racing Industry. July 30, 2013. Retrieved August 29, 2019.
  15. ^ "Jessi Combs – MythBusters Cast". Discovery. Retrieved August 28, 2019.
  16. ^ "The List – 1001 Car Things To Do Before You Die". Retrieved August 28, 2019.
  17. ^ "Jessi Combs – Warn Industries Blog". Retrieved August 28, 2019.
  18. ^ "Jessi Combs Official Website". Retrieved August 28, 2019.
  19. ^ Fastest woman on four wheels crowned after 440mph record run Archived 2013-10-14 at the Wayback Machine – MSN Cars UK, October 13, 2013
  20. ^ "Jessi Combs breaks 48-year old land speed record". October 15, 2013. Retrieved October 15, 2013.
  21. ^ WARN (February 12, 2016). "WARN Graces All Podiums During Ultra4 2016 Nitto King of the Hammers Week". Retrieved August 28, 2019.

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