The Many Phases of Jessi Combs’ Career Pursuits, Net Worth and How She Died

Jessi Combs is remembered as an American woman who redefined every stereotype about the womenfolk that society has built over many centuries. Some people knew her as a female welder, but on her website, she described herself as a driver/racer, metal fabricator, TV personality, brand representative, public speaker, and author. It may sound a handful but yes! she was all these and perhaps more.

The Drive Magazine that reports on car racing initially described Jessi simply as “the world’s fastest woman” but subsequently modified the description by adding “…on four wheels”. The speed racer also garnered a lot of fame for her TV appearances as well as being the author of the book, Joey and the Chopper Boys.

Exploring Jessi Combs’ Different Career Endeavors 

Going by what the speed racer revealed about her grandmother who loved to live on the edge and was into car racing even to the point of becoming the model for the tire maker BFGoodrich (formerly, Goodrich Tyres), one can easily decipher where Combs got the trait to be daring in her career pursuits. For the same love for doing tough things, Jessi Combs decided to build a career in a male-dominated area of metal fabrication.

Although she was offered an interior design scholarship, she rejected it and went on to enroll at WyoTech (formerly, Wyoming Technical Institute) in Laramie WY, to undergo their Street Rod Fabrication, Chassis Fabrication, Collision and Refining as well as Trim/Upholstery programs. Combs graduated with a degree in Custom Automotive Fabrication.

Jessi did not only pass through these WyoTech programs, but she is also reported to have graduated from them with top honors. So, most probably in recognition of her performance and uniqueness, she got a very special kind of job from WyoTech marketing department as soon as she graduated. Jessi Combs was employed, alongside another student named Ben Bright, to build a car from scratch. Jessi and her colleague had only six months to build the car which was to be presented at the Special Equipment Marketing Association (SEMA)’s fair. The job was eventually well delivered and the car was auctioned for charity at the fair.

After the job with WyoTech marketing department, Jessi Combs went ahead to make a mark on her own. She initially had in mind to focus on building car chassis, but with time, she attracted a kind of attention that made her the media sensation she is today. She was invited by Velocity TV and later, Discovery Channel to be a guest fabricator on the TV program Overhaulin. The TV series showcases a team of mechanics and designers building machines. It has so far aired on three major channels which are TLC, Velocity, and Discovery.

In 2008, she was brought in as a presenter for hit show MythBusters to stand in for Kari Byron during the latter’s maternity leave. Between 2011 and 2014, she served as the host of All Girls Garage, a Velocity Channel’s program that showcases an all-female mechanical workshop. Jessi also started recording an auto blog named The List: 1001 Car Things To Do Before You Die sometime in 2011. More so, Combs is notable as the anchor of Xtreme 4×4, a position she held for 4 years before leaving the show due to an accident that happened while filming.

Jessi Combs car race
Fred Williams of MotorTrends (R) interviews Jessi Combs Image source.

Another area of Jessi Combs’ career life where she made a profound mark was in car racing – as already hinted. She finished in the 1st position in five prominent car racing competitions and 2nd in another three competitions between 2011 and 2017. In 2013, she set a record as ‘the World’s Fastest Woman on 4 wheels’ when she drove the North American Eagle (NaE) Supersonic Speed Challenger with a 398 mph average run and at the top speed of 440 mph. By doing so, Jessi Combs broke a 48-year-old record set in 1965 by Lee Breedlove – which was a 308.5 mph run average.

As an author, Jessi Combs published her first book in July 2015 titled Joey and the Chopper Boys. In her book, she tells the story of a girl who loved motorcycles, a flair that is generally associated with boys. However, despite the challenges she faced in pursuing happiness in a male dominated area, little Joey still dared to dream. She also had to face hurdles that came with leaving her hometown to the city where she had great difficulties in making new friends. This well written story by Jessi won the hearts of many readers and it is gradually becoming one of the popular books that blends motorcycles with the womenfolk.

What Is Her Net Worth?

From her TV appearances, Jessi Combs is believed to have earned quite a good sum for her work in the numerous shows she either appeared as a guest or anchored. However, the actually figure with regards to her salary is not known to the public as at now. More so, she must have been compensated very well for the numerous racing events she won as well as is from her other career pursuits. All these contributed to her $1 million net worth as at the time of her demise.

See Also: 7 Real And Ghastly Ferrari Car Crash Accident Cases

Jessi Combs Was Married To The TV Personality, Ian Johnson

There is only one record that we can find of Jessi Combs ever getting married and this is her marriage with a co-host on the Xtreme 4×4 show,  Ian Johnson. Unfortunately, the marriage is said to have survived only a few months perhaps, that’s why details about it are so hard to come by. However, it was gathered that like her, Ian was also interested in automobiles and he made appearances in several TV shows including Monster Garage, Overhaulin, and Trail to SEMA.

However, apart from marriage, there are reports of Jessi Combs being involved in several romantic relationships. One of such includes her alleged relationship with her Overhaulin  co-host, Chris Jacobs. Jessi has also been romantically linked with Patrick McIntyre but she later confirmed that her friendship with Patrick was purely platonic.

The speed racer later dated Terry L. Madden who was also a motorcycle enthusiast like herself. Details about how their relationship started still remains vague but they were quite public with their appearances. The pair were head over heels in love and it was evident in the pictures they uploaded. Combs was even praised by her beau for mending his broken relationship with his son shortly before she died.

How Did The Speed Racer Die?

The tragic death of Jessi Combs happened on 27th of August, 2019. She was driving a jet powered car somewhere in Alvord Dessert in Oregon in the bid to break a speeding record on land. However, as she hit the road on high speed, her car’s front wheels collapsed after hitting an object along on her path. The force of the crash made her hit her head and suffered a trauma while her car also caught fire shortly after the crash.

At the time of her death, Jessi Combs was 39 years old. More so, it believed that the race during which she ended her life could have made her the new Guinness Book of record holder for breaking the women’s land speed record of 1976 set by Kitty O’Neil. The winner then recorded 512.71 mph (825.13 km/h) whereas, on 27th August 2019, Combs recorded 531.89 mph (855.99 km/h). However, these facts are still under investigation and the outcome is yet to be announced.

Chinedu Nweke
A graduate of Pontifical Urbaniana University, Rome, Italy, Chinedu Desmond Nweke is a computer teacher, writer and a humanist.


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