Today brings about some very sad news as the world-renowned racer, metal fabricator, and television personality Jessi Combs has passed away at the age of 36. Known professionally as the "Fastest Woman on Four Wheels," Combs was attempting to surpass her previous land speed record when the 52,000 horsepower jet-powered car she was driving crashed in Oregon's Alvord Desert. "It may seem a little crazy to walk directly into the line of fire... those who are willing, are those who achieve great things," Combs wrote just days prior to the accident on her Twitter account in preparation for the stunt. She adds: "People say I'm crazy. I say thank you."
For everyone who knew Combs, it was always obvious she would achieve great things in her life. She graduated at the top of her class from WyoTech in 2004 in the Collision & Refinishing Core Program in addition to the Street Rod Fabrication and Custom Fabrication and High Performance Powertrain programs. It was also during her time at WyoTech when she first appeared on television, as she can be seen in the first season of the TV series Overhaulin as a student. After graduation, WyoTech hired Combs and another student to construct a car from scratch in just six months, which debuted at the Specialty Equipment Marketing Assocation show.
Because Combs' work was quickly turning heads, she began hosting the TV series Xtreme 4x4 for SpikeTV starting in 2005. As a part of the network's Powerblock line up, the series follows the building or modification of vehicles to make them suitable for off-road driving as well as showcasing different forms of off-road racing. Combs later departed the series in 2009, but this wouldn't be the end of her many appearances on television. The famous fabricator later appeared in 12 episodes of MythBusters and served as one of the hosts of the Velocity series All Girls Garage. In 2012, she also began co-hosting Velocity's relaunch of Overhaulin with Chris Jacobs. Combs can also be seen on the AOL Autoblog show The List: 1001 Car Things To Do Before You Die and the Science Channel series How to Build... Everything.
As a racer, Combs has earned many remarkable accomplishments as well. This includes many 1st place wins in various prominent races, such as the King of the Hammers race with the Savvy Off Road Team in the EMC Modified Class. She also earned her "Fastest Woman on Four Wheels" moniker in 2013 when she drove the North American Eagle Supersonic Speed Challenger at the Alvord desert, setting the women's 4-wheel land speed record with a run of 398 mph and a top speed of 448 mph; she later set a new top speed of 477 mph. It was this record Combs was attempting to once again break, reportedly using the very same vehicle in the same location.
At just 36 years old, Combs was far too young to go, and our thoughts are with her family and friends at this difficult time. Her name and legacy will live on forever in the record books, and may she rest in peace. This news comes to us from Jalopnik.