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Jessi Combs: Outrageously Fast

November 25th, 2013 by
Jessi Combs in front of Challenger. Photo via

Jessi Combs in front of Challenger. Photo via

Deep in Oregon’s Alvord Desert, the race setup on the cool October morning feels more NASA than NASCAR.

A command station radios go/no-go checks as the all-volunteer team preps the vehicle called the North American Eagle™ Supersonic Land Speed Challenger.

Oh, so that's how she went so fast. Photo via
Oh, so that’s how she went so fast. Photo via

The driver, American TV personality Jessi Combs, enters a cockpit at the front of a 56-foot rocket with four wheels.

Instead of a steering wheel, she grabs a joystick, and instead of other racers, Jessi’s opponent was a record: 308 miles per hour, the women’s four-wheel land speed record set in 1965 set by Lee Breedlove.

On Wednesday, Oct. 9, 2013, Jessi broke the record, driving the North American Eagle Supersonic Land Speed Challenger an average of 392 mph in two runs. The 50,000-horsepower jet-car was a refitted F-104 jet originally flown in the 1950s and 1960s. At one point, Jessi reached a top speed of 440.709 mph.

“That felt so unbelievably good. I knew that one was really, really fast,” Jessi said when told of her new record.

Watch Jessi break the record.


More than 80 premium-quality sponsors from aerospace engineering to coffee supplier to Interstate Batteries of Seattle supported the Supersonic Land Speed Challenger’s development.

Interstate Distributor Tom Allen has worked with the North American Eagle team, based in south Seattle, for quite a while and known Ed Shadle, one of the team’s owners, from their local racing community.

IBS of Seattle put up money for the fuel to travel to the Alvord Desert — and also provided about eight of Interstate’s top-of-the-line batteries, the 31-AGM7, normally used for cranking and auxiliary power for commercial trucks.

Why’s a trucker’s battery the best pick for the Supersonic Land Speed Challenger? Tom gave three reasons: vibration, safety and power.

The 31-AGM7 is a sealed, absorbed glass-mat battery made from pure, non-alloy lead. AGM batteries sport impressive vibration resistance, and being sealed limits the risk of leaking or spills in a worst-case scenario. The Land Speed Challenger also needed power for tons of onboard electronics — and something to kick-start the jet engine’s ignition. The 31-AGM7, using a unique internal design called Pure Matrix power, can deliver long stretches of electricity and thousands of cold cranking amps — perfect for the team’s needs.

North American Eagle development team member Steve Rima performs a vacuum test of the pitot tube lines. Photo via

North American Eagle development team member Steve Rima performs a vacuum test of the pitot tube lines. Photo via


The North American Eagle team has declared a mission to break the world land speed record of 763 mph set in Oct. 15, 1997, by British team Thrust SSC.

They also plan to beat the world female land speed record of 512 mph set in 1976 by stuntwoman and TV star Kitty O’Neil in a three-wheeled vehicle. The team will make its next attempt in 2014.

With the competition for the next land speed record picking up heat, we’re confident that the North American Eagle crew can come out on top. Way to break a record, team!

By Youssef Sleiman (70 Posts)

Youssef Sleiman writes and reports the powerful news at Interstate Batteries.

Posted in Racing, Sponsorships
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About The Outrageously Dependable Blog

Interstate Batteries® sells more than 16,000 kinds of batteries—from AA alkalines and automotive batteries to critical power solutions, and everything in between. Combine professional battery services, recycling programs and the largest battery distribution network in North America, and you’ll find Interstate has EVERY BATTERY FOR EVERY NEED®. Learn more about Interstate Batteries or shop online!

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