Remembering a Role Model

In light of the tragedy that shook both the automotive and motorsports realms, the Athena Racing staff felt it imperative for our budding female team to recognize what makes Jessi Combs such a powerful role model. Better known as the “fastest woman on four wheels,” the title she earned when she broke the women’s land speed record in 2013, Combs mastered anything she put her mind to. It was her passion for the artistry behind all things involving motorsports and drive to master everything encompassing them that made her so lovable and successful. With the skills and mindset we’re aiming to both foster and develop, we are sure more women like Jessi Combs will blossom.

Combs left this world tragically and suddenly — but there’s an important message for young women everywhere: women are strong, capable, and incredibly intelligent. In a world full of naysayers and non believers, she showed up with a smile on her face and the confidence to pound their doubts into the ground. And that she did, time and time again. Combs was a woman of many hats (or should we say, helmets); she was a highly skilled and successful driver (hence the nickname), a fabricator/welder, and could fix just about any car that lay in front of her. 

Combs appeared on several automotive themed TV shows, such as Xtreme 4X4 as the host, where she would race and showcase truly awe inspiring off-road vehicles. While Mythbusters’ own Kari Byron was on maternity leave, Combs stepped in to assist with building, fabricating, driving, and was even well versed in the sciences. After that, she stared on AOL’s Autoblog show, The List: 1001 Car Things to Do Before You Die, which was an adventure series depicting fun things to do with cars. Also notable is her part as host for All Girls Garage, where like minded and talented women built or repaired cars for various purposes. Not long after, an opportunity to co-host Overhaulin’ with Chris Jacobs arose, and she took it. 


Not surprisingly, she also owned and maintained her own shop in Southern California, where she would build or weld anything a customer needed. Whether she was on or off the big screen, Combs was always submerged in automotive work. Though, this caliper of confidence didn’t come without proper education — which is why we stress such a diverse education at Athena Racing. 

Her love of all things automotive took her to WyoTech, where she studied Collision & Refinishing. Hungry for more, she also studied Street Rod and Custom Fabrication, as well as High Performance Powertrain programs. Just after graduation, she was hired along with another student to completely build a car to be shown at Specialty Equipment Marketing Association’s (SEMA). On top of that, they only had six months to do it. On her website, it also lists that she was no stranger to public speaking and writing. 

Jessi Combs was, and will always be, a symbol of female empowerment for generations to come. After what she accomplished, her image, her successes, and her talents will forever stand as a reminder to young women that women can do anything — truly anything — as long as they’re willing to apply themselves. Every day, no matter what she was facing, she showed up ready to give her all. With a diversified education and range of skills, there was nothing she couldn’t do. Race in Peace, Jessi Combs. 


Photos: Jessi Combs – Facebook.


“Those who are willing, are those who achieve great things.” 

-Jessi Combs
Kristen Finley

Kristen Finley

Motorsports Journalist

Kristen Finley is a woman who eats, breathes, and sleeps cars. Her love of cars blossomed at a very young age, when handing tools to her sailor of a father underneath his cars constituted as quality time. Eager to learn, it was only a matter of time before her father became the one handing her the tools. Even into college at California State University, Monterey Bay, she’s pursuing a career in automotive journalism to allow her the chance to tell enchanting automotive stories.