Jetcar racer Jessi Combs admitted in a post she was "a little crazy" for attempting to break a land speed record just days before she died in a fiery crash.
The 39-year-old - dubbed the 'fastest woman on four wheels' - was killed in a crash on a dry lake bed in the Alvord Desert in Oregon.
In an Instagram post just three days before her attempt to travel at more than 500mph in the jet-engined vehicle, she said: "People say I’m crazy. I say thank you ;)"
Her family released a statement on Facebook in which they spoke of their "extreme grief".
The family added: "Jessi was known for her bright smile, positivity, and tenacious pursuit of the fulfillment of her dreams.
"Her drive was infectious, and she served as a role model for young girls, and women around the world.
"People that loved her and followed her became family, all bonded together by adventure and passion. Her fans adored her, and she lived to inspire them.
"Jessi’s most notable dream was to become the fastest woman on Earth, a dream she had been chasing since 2012."
The statement continued: "Combs was one of the rare dreamers with the bravery to turn those possibilities into reality, and she left this earth driving faster than any other woman in history.
"Surrounded by her family and friends at the time of her passing, Jessi lived fearlessly, and her legacy lives on in the countless lives she touched.
"You will forever be missed, and remembered for the shining star you are in the automotive world and beyond!"
She was racing for the North American Eagle Supersonic Speed Challenger team attempting to break a women's record of 512mph, set in 1976.
Earlier run in the previous weeks and days had seen her approaching the 500mph barrier.
Her partner, Terry Madden said on Instagram: "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.",
Sheriff's Lieutenant Brian Needham said the cause of the accident is under investigation.
He said: "We're still trying to determine what caused the crash. The team is working with us in recovering the onboard computer systems and we're going to meet next week through a phone conference and hopefully be able to retrieve that data and be able to retrieve that data to determine what the cause of the crash was."
He added: "My understanding she was killed instantaneously. There was a fire involved with the crash and she was dead. As soon as the first people on the scene got to her body."
The sheriff went on: "The team that was on scene were able to get to Jessi Combs almost immediately, within a minute or two.
"They have team members stationed throughout the eight mile track that they're using on the desert."
Because of the remote location, he said, emergency services did not get to the scene for another hour.
Combs also appeared on TV shows including Discovery's Mythbusters.