TV Personality Jessi Combs Poised to Break the Women’s Land Speed Record

Record to be surpassed after 37 years

KENT, Washington (September 19, 2013) – The North American Eagle (NAE) Supersonic Speed Challenger has selected Jessi Combs to attempt to break the women’s land speed record. In early October, Combs will attempt to surpass the current record of 512mph set by Kittle O’Neal in 1976. The record attempt will be made on the dry lakebed at the Alvord Desert in southeast Oregon, the same location where O’Neal set the previous record 37 years ago. In 2014, the NAE team has its sights set on breaking the ultimate land speed record of 763mph.

Jessi Combs is no stranger to speed. She has been described as fearless, with a passion for racing and a sense of adventure. “I love to drive, build things, and go fast,” said Combs. Combs was on the podium with a second place finish in the Baja 1000 in 2011. She has also competed in the Ultra4 King of the Hammers in 2010, 2012, and 2013. In addition to her racing, Combs is an automotive metal fabricator and TV personality. She currently co-hosts Overhaulin’ and All Girls Garage (both on Velocity by the Discovery Channel) and 1001 Car Things to do Before You Die (AutoBlog). Previous television appearances include Mythbusters (Discovery Channel), Xtreme 4×4 (Spike TV), and Two Guys Garage (Speed Channel).

The current women’s land speed record was set at the Alvord Desert on December 6, 1976 by professional stunt woman Kitty O’Neal.  O’Neal, who was born deaf, drove the “Motivator” rocket-powered car owned by movie director Hal Needham (Smokey and the Bandit) to a two-way average speed of 512.710mph. The rules require that a driver make two passes across a measured course, one in each direction. Officials then average the two speeds.

The vehicle that Combs will drive, the NAE Supersonic Speed Challenger, is a 50,000 horsepower converted F-104 Lockheed Starfighter jet that was once flown by some of the most famous test pilots of the 1950s and 1960s. The all-volunteer NAE team of American and Canadian engineers and former military personnel converted the F-104 into a jet-powered car designed to travel at more than 800mph.

The NAE vehicle was built to bring the world land speed record back to North America. After being held by Americans including Craig Breedlove and Art Arfons, a British team captured the record in 1983. In 1997, that same team raised the record to an astounding 763mph. In setting the record, the ThrustSSC vehicle broke the sound barrier on land exactly 50 years and one day after Chuck Yeager first went supersonic in an aircraft. In 2014, NAE team owner Ed Shadle will drive the NAE vehicle to set a new absolute land speed record by traveling at a speed of more than 763mph. According to Shadle, “With the British team currently at work on a new vehicle of their own, the next couple of years of land speed racing should prove to be very exciting,”