Remembering Jessi Combs: Racer, TV Host, and WyoTech Grad
Jessi Combs was born in Rapid City, SD in 1980 and began her celebrated career as a Professional Racer, Television Personality and Metal Fabricator upon her attendance of WyoTech in Laramie, Wyoming. Combs graduated from the Collision & Refinishing Program at WyoTech in 2004 at the top of her class in all programs. Immediately after, she was hired by WyoTech's marketing department to build a car from the ground up for an equipment show six months later.
From there, Combs was a regular on the television screen for all things fabrication and car related. She served as the host of Xtreme 4x4, part of the TV Show "Powerblock," until 2008 when an accident forced her to leave. In the seventh season of MythBusters, Jessi Combs appeared in place of Kari Byron while she was out on Maternity leave, being featured on 12 episodes. The classic car enthusiast also served as a host on All Girls Garage on Velocity and as the co-host of Overhaulin' when it re-launched in 2012.
Combs was also known as the "Fastest Woman on Four Wheels," having been a professional driver since 2011 and finishing in 1st or 2nd place for most of her appearances on the track. In 2013, Combs drove the famous jet car, the North American Eagle supersonic Speed Challenger in the Alvord desert, when she broke the women's 4-wheel land speed record. The previous record had been set by Lee Breedlove in 1965.
On August 27th, 2019, Jessi Combs took to the Alvord Desert again with the intention of breaking her own land speed record. According to those close to the racer, her intention was to hit 619 mph during the run on the dried lake bed in Oregon. Unfortunately, this would be Jessi's last run, as she was killed in a crash that has been described as "horrific." The details of the accident or what went wrong have not been released at this time. She was 39 years old.
"Jessi was known for her bright smile, positivity, and tenacious pursuit of the fulfillment of her dreams,” her family wrote in a statement about her passing. “Her drive was infectious, and she served as a role model for young Girls, and Women around the world. People that loved her and followed her became family, all bonded together by adventure and passion. Her fans adored her, and she lived to inspire them. Jessi’s most notable dream was to become the fastest woman on Earth, a dream she had been chasing since 2012. Combs was one of the rare dreamers with the bravery to turn those possibilities into reality, and she left this earth driving faster than any other woman in history.”