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HomeEventsJessi Combs named World’s Fastest Woman

Jessi Combs named World’s Fastest Woman

The late racer and TV star awarded by Guinness World Records

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Jessi Combs will always be remembered for her grit and ambition. Her dream was to be “The World’s Fastest Woman.” According to Guinness World Records, she now holds that title just over 10 months after her death in the rocket car that propelled her to that record on August 27, 2019.

Combs, 39, was killed in the dry lake bed of the Alvord Desert when her jet car, the North American Eagle – essentially a 1957 Lockheed F-104A-10 Starfighter military fighter jet on wheels – had a mechanical failure during the return pass of the record attempt. Prior to the crash, she achieved a combined speed of 522.783 miles per hour, enough to surpass the record of 512.710 mph set by deaf stuntwoman Kitty O’Neil at the same Southeastern Oregon dry lake bed in the jet-powered, three-wheeled SMI Motivator in 1976.

Jessi Combs, racer and TV personality, killed in crash during speed-record try

During an event celebrating her life in September 2019, Combs’ family stated, “She left this earth driving faster than any other woman in history.”

Combs did two runs. The first reached 515.346 mph and the second one was 548.432 mph. The average (531.889 mph) was submitted to Guinness. The speed, still the women’s record, was adjusted by Guinness.

Jessi, Jessi Combs named World’s Fastest Woman, ClassicCars.com Journal
Jessi Combs

According to an Instagram post, the daredevil was “#aimingfor619,” meaning she had hoped to achieve a combined speed of 619 mph. She also posted, “It may seem a little crazy to walk directly into the line of fire… those who are willing, are those who achieve great things … People say I’m crazy. I say thank you ;)”

After an investigation into the accident, the Harney County Sheriff’s Office in Oregon determined the crash was caused by “a mechanical failure of the front wheel, most likely caused from striking an object on the desert.” Further investigation revealed that Combs was killed by “blunt force” and not the subsequent fire that burned the jet car.

Jessi Combs’ car hit object, causing fatal crash, investigators believe

Beyond her quest for speed, Jessi Combs was a well-known media personality who appeared on several shows, including Overhaulin’ and All Girls Garage and The List.

Tom Stahler
Tom Stahler is the Managing Editor of the ClassicCars.com Journal. Tom has a lifelong love of cars and motor racing – beginning with the 1968 USRRC race at Road America, in a stroller, at eight months of age. His words, photos and broadcasts can can be found on a myriad of media. He has won the Motor Press Guild’s Dean Batchelor Award and a Gold Medal in the International Automotive Media Awards.

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