Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

Jessi Combs killed in ‘horrific accident’ during land speed record attempt

3 Comments

Professional racer and television personality Jessi Combs was killed Tuesday afternoon when her jet-powered land speed car crashed in the Alvord desert in Southeastern Oregon. She was 39.

Combs, who earned the title of “The fastest woman on four wheels” after previously setting the four-wheeled woman’s land speed record at the same site in 2013, was attempting to break her previous record on the dry lake bed when the accident happened.

Combs had previously recorded a 483.227 mph shakedown run at Alvord last year before the session was abandoned due to mechanical issues.

Though the Harney County Sheriff’s office did not immediately release the identity of the victim, Combs’s partner and teammate Terry Madden confirmed her passing on Instagram Wednesday morning.

View this post on Instagram

So I don’t know how to say any of this but it all needs said. I have never loved or been loved by anyone as much as this amazing woman @thejessicombs she was truly my unicorn and I enjoyed every single minute that I had with her. She was the most amazing spirit that I have ever or will ever know. Unfortunately we lost her yesterday in a horrific accident, I was the first one there and trust me we did everything humanly possible to save her!! I’m not ok, but she is right here keeping my going-I made her a promise that if this didn’t go well that I would make sure and do good with it, please help me with that, you are all going to see things on news please believe non of them.. we the family have drafted a release and it will come out today with more proper info, but I was just woke up by the media tracking me down and I need everyone of her true friends to do what she would want “take a deep breath, relax” and do good things with this. Please donate to nothing, I know there will be people try, we are finishing the documentary as she wished and the world will know the truth and her foundation will use those funds to do amazing things in this world and make her legacy live on properly. In the coming days her family and I will get the proper channels put together that you can then donate to that foundation but until you hear it from me wait please-I don’t want some asshole profiting off this (all ready had one try to sell us a video)… . . Love you all and thank you all for being such amazing friends to her, she dedicated her life to helping support others dreams and I promise I will continue that. #doitforjessi #myjessi

A post shared by Terry L. Madden (@terry_madden) on

“I have never loved or been loved by anyone as much as this amazing woman @thejessicombs she was truly my unicorn and I enjoyed every single minute that I had with her,” Madden wrote. “She was the most amazing spirit that I have ever or will ever know.”

In addition to several successful land-speed record attempts, Combs was also known by fans from her appearances on several T.V. shows, including Overhaulin, All Girls Garage, and Xtreme 4×4. She also served as a host of Mythbusters.

Former Mythbusters host Kari Byron tweeted her condolences Wednesday morning.

“So sad to hear about Jessi. She was a badass. Always pushing limits. Sending smiles into the universe for her,” Bryon said.

A celebration of Combs’ life, as well as a foundation in her honor to “continue her efforts to empower young women and girls to follow their dreams” have both planned, according to a statement released by Combs’ family, though dates for neither have been released as of publication.

IMSA: Hailie Deegan to honor Lyn St. James in Ford debut

Ford Performance
Leave a comment

When Hailie Deegan makes her IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge debut this Friday, she’ll do so in a paint scheme honoring a former racer who helped pave the way for women in motorsports.

St. James’ 1985 IMSA GTO Ford Mustang. Photo: Ford Performance.

Last week, Ford Performance unveiled the paint scheme of the No. 22 Multimatic Motorsports Ford Mustang GT4 that Deegan and co-driver Chase Briscoe will drive in the four-hour race at the Daytona International Speedway this Friday.

The red, white and blue paint scheme is a throwback to the Roush Racing Mustang IMSA GTO car that was driven by Lyn St. James in her breakout season in 1985.

In that season, St. James captured three victories, including the first IMSA GT victory by a woman driving solo. Over the course of her career St. James won six IMSA sports car victories with Ford, including two class victories in the Rolex 24 at Daytona.

She also competed in IndyCar, with seven starts in the Indianapolis 500.

“I can’t wait to get behind the wheel of this Mustang,” said Deegan. “My anticipation and excitement level was already sky high, making my debut for Ford in my first ever road race in IMSA, but now we add this cool throwback scheme honoring the only woman to win a major IMSA race solo and it is just that much cooler.

“I have a ton of respect and admiration for what Lyn St. James did to pave the road for racers like me. It will be really cool to drive a car inspired by her 1985 IMSA GTO Ford Mustang.”

St. James served as an advisor for Ford Motor Company between 1981-96 and, has been a major ambassador for women in sports, particularly auto racing.

“I’m delighted that Ford is doing this throwback scheme,” said St. James.  “The whole goal of every race driver is to win races, and going into that 1985 season I was on the cusp of winning, and to get my first three IMSA wins that year really meant so much to me because they say that once you win once, the others follow, and that was true for me.

“I am certain Hailie and Chase felt the same way after winning their first stock car races.  You just want to win more.  Sports car racing may be different than what they normally do, but the mindset is the same.  I am excited to see them race and get to the winner’s circle.

The first round of the 2020 IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge season at Daytona International Speedway starts at 1:00 pm ET on Friday, January 24, and will stream live on TrackPass on NBC Sports Gold.

Follow Michael Eubanks on Twitter