Popular Racer and TV Host Jessi Combs, 39, Dies During Speed Record Attempt

Image/ Nick Ares, CC BY-SA 2.0

Jessi Combs, a popular automotive TV personality, racer, and car builder died this week in a crash while attempting a new land-speed record in Oregon. Combs was 39.

The record Combs was trying to break was her own—a four-wheeled vehicle record of 398 miles per hour in October 2013, piloting the North American Eagle Supersonic Speed Challenger.

According to Autoblog—which had a close working relationship with Combs because she hosted Autoblog’s “The List” video series—Combs had hit speeds north of 483 mph in follow-up land-speed runs as recently as last year, but those feats never made it into the official record books because mechanical issues cut the attempts short.

The fatal accident took place on a dry lake bed called the Alvord Desert in southeast Oregon.

“Jessi’s most notable dream was to become the fastest woman on Earth,” her family wrote in a statement. “…she left this earth driving faster than any other woman in history.”

Autoblog’s “The List,” hosted by Combs, was a 70-episode automotive series that ran from December 2011 through December 2017. In addition to its original publication on Autoblog, the show also aired on Speed Network in 2013 and on Velocity in 2015.

The OnAllCylinders staff and the extended Summit Racing family send our thoughts and prayers to Combs’ family and many friends. Godspeed, Jessi.

Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that Combs was 36, which was based on several news reports. According to more recent articles and Combs’ Wikipedia page, she was 39.

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  1. Innovators like Jessi put it all on the line and often at the risk of death.. May you rest in peace and thank you for your dedication to become the best at what you do~

  2. Ken Tunnell says:

    RIP to a remarkable woman taken from us way to soon.

  3. Rodneyhulme says:

    Jessi was a great inspiration for all we will miss her bright smile rip Jessi!

  4. Wayne Mendoza says:

    Be at rest Jessi you’ve done some amazing things, many that very few will ever match. Go with joy in your heart, peace in your soul and the love of many. Rest In Peace.

  5. Ways Martin says:

    Dedication and Courage.
    What more could anyone ask for? Rest and be proud, Jessi.

  6. So sorry to hear only knew her through TV. Prayers.

  7. too bad her goals that took her life served zero practical purpose and contributed little other than feeding adrenaline junkies. life lost for zero reason. shame.

    • Except proving to millions of little girls that the automotive world isn’t just for men. Teaching many that if you follow your dreams and work hard you can succeed, regardless what others say. And, apparently fostering a deep seeded jealousy in the likes of certain internet trolls. I’ve left out all of the technological advancements in many fields, including medical, the automotive world has brought..mainly because you’re comment didn’t deserve that respect.

      • Steve ur a jackoff. Have a heart, it seems like I’ve never done anything notable and judge a female cause she had more balls than u. May she rest in piece, knowing she had more heart, courage that people like u

      • I think he makes a valid point. Since we really don’t know what else her life seemed like it seems a life of self at the cursory glance. I’m a female Apache pilot and I’ve deployed three times and shot a lot of stuff. I don’t see the point of putting my life on the line for anything other than guys on the ground and my children. But to each their own. Not saying what she did was worthless but one would have to look at how else she lived. Lots of folks go after the adrenaline and their families suffer the loss. All things in balance. To include pushing an envelope. I grew up working on cars and rebuilding engines. I’ve never felt gender mattered at all in automotive crap. We live in America. You can literally do whatever you want in whatever field. You just have to know how to navigate it and find supporters that really give a crap about you while you do it. Not people riding on the coat tales of your fame from being an anomalie.

        • She taught girls to weld, to fabricate, she showed and led bringing diversity into hot rods and motorcycles. This was in fabrication, she taught a lot, lived a lot and was an amazing woman. I imagine a lot of women are into trades due to Jessi. And for that, I thank you Jessi. Not everyone should go to debt in college. The trades need you!

      • I agree BK, I grew up with 5 brothers and our dad who were always rebuilding motors on cars and trucks. And I can rebuild engines. I tried to get jobs in the automotive industry and got turned away because I was a female, same thing in school, we could’nt take shop or woodworking, it was home ec. I also raced cars, I wanted the opportunity she had, times changed and women were allowed to get in the (only men) careers. And the same for the women in the military, we were only nurses and then were allowed to join. So she might have been extreme with the speed racing, but looking back in history Amelia Earhart and other women made history too.

    • Mark Miskuff says:

      You piece of garbage mocking all her accomplishments how dare you

  8. Brent McMillan says:

    Rest in Peace Jessi! Didn’t think you would pass in my home state of Oregon but those speeds in the Alvord Desert is very dangerous. Jessi was doing what she loved!!


  10. Mike Overall says:

    She’s actually 39

  11. Michael Watkins says:

    As saddening as this terrible news is, she died doing what she loved. Jessie, may you rest in peace.

  12. Paul Boorse says:

    You are gone way too soon. Going to miss your smile, and attitude, and your talent. If it makes any sense, you died with your boots on, and the spurs to the horse. RIP.

  13. Jamie leasure says:

    Rip Jessie you blazed many trails for woman you won’t be forgotten.

  14. RIP Jessie, SD is proud of you!!!!

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  17. mark dandridge says:

    R,i,p jessi the racing community have lost a great tallent you will sadly be missed by all

  18. What she did was no different than the women who have raced cars of various types in competition, it is fun and they love doing it.

  19. Al Neufeld says:

    I feel how weak and fruitless must be any word of mine which should attempt to beguile you from the grief of a loss so overwhelming. But I cannot refrain from tendering you the consolation that may be found in the life and love of your lost one.

    I pray that our Heavenly Father may assuage the anguish of your bereavement, and leave you only the cherished memory of the loved and lost, and the solemn pride that must be yours to have known such a tender and loving soul. 

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