Many athletes pass away too soon, and unfortunately, Jessi Combs became one of them. A racing star and the “fastest woman on four wheels,” Combs led an extreme life. Here’s a look at how she lived and the accident that took her life.
‘Mythbusters’ and other TV work
As a skilled metal fabricator, Combs joined the cast of Mythbusters when co-host Kari Byron was pregnant. The 36-year old took over for Byron for 12 episodes in the seventh season of the show. Although many fans got to know Combs via her work on Mythbusters, this wasn’t the only TV work she did. She also hosted several car-related shows, like Extreme 4×4 and Overhaulin’. She loved hosting car shows because cars and racing were some of her biggest passions.
As a professional racer, Combs was proficient in her craft. According to Jalopnik, she was the first woman to ever place in a Kings of Hammer race, and in 2016, she even won first place in a Kings of Hammer event. The pro won a medal in nearly every race she participated in and often set speed records.
In 2013, Combs became the world’s fastest woman on four wheels after averaging 398 miles per hour with her North American Eagle Supersonic Speed Challenger. This vehicle is described by The New York Times as a jet-like car that’s 56-feet-long and can achieve over 45,000 hp. Combs was attempting to break the record for the fastest woman ever — 512 miles per hour set by Kitty O’Neil — when she tragically crashed in Oregon.
A year ago, she was able to hit 483 miles per hour in her Supersonic Speed Challenger in a shakedown run before they had to cancel the run due to mechanical issues. This was the same kind of car she later crashed in.
The details of the accident are scarce, as the police and investigators are still getting a picture of what happened. However, according to Yahoo, we know about two details of the ongoing investigation.
Firstly, the investigators recovered the car’s computer and they’re hoping the information it contains will shed some light on the accident. Secondly, it seems like there was a problem with the car brakes. Combs was not able to slow down, which led to the crash.
However, because of how dangerous this motorsport is, any number of things could’ve gone wrong. It’s possible the mechanical issue that arose last year resurfaced to cause the fatal accident. We won’t know of any details until the investigators find the true cause of this accident.
Combs herself posted on Instagram several years ago that she’s not afraid of dying doing what she loves. While it’s comforting that she had this passionate, competitive mindset, her death is sad nonetheless. Many people around the world gave their condolences to Comb’s family.
Her former colleagues at Mythbusters, Adam Savage, Tory Belleci, Kari Byron, and Grant Imahara left heartfelt messages to her and her family over social media. Some of her former colleagues at Autoblog and Overhaulin’, like Chip Foose and Chris Jacobs, also sent warm messages to her family.
Jay Leno, a renowned car enthusiast, paid his respects to the fastest woman on four wheels. Fellow professional driver Vaughn Gittin Jr. left some touching words to her and her family on social media. Combs will also have a feature film dedicated to her, Interviewing Monsters and Bigfoot, a film she shot before her untimely accident.