Get to know FOX NASCAR reporter and Las Vegas native Jamie Little
This extended Q&A marks the next in a series with FOX Sports motor sports personalities to be highlighted over the next several months. FOX NASCAR reporter Jamie Little, who also covers Supercross for FS1, hails from Las Vegas, site of this weekend’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards Ceremony and NASCAR Sprint Cup Champion’s Week. As part of the 2016 celebration, Little will host Thursday’s NASCAR Victory Lap on the Strip. For more information on Little, please click here.
FOX SPORTS: You just became a mother for the second time, giving birth to Sierra. How is she doing and how has Carter adjusted to becoming a big brother?
LITTLE: “She is wonderful. Our little angel. We tried for a couple of years to have another and really didn't think it was in the cards for us. Then, the day after this year's Daytona 500, we found out I was pregnant. She's truly a miracle. Carter is adjusting to big-brother status. He loves her but is scared of her at the same time.”
FOX SPORTS: Sierra’s name has a special meaning for you. How did you choose it?
LITTLE: “I was born in South Lake Tahoe, Calif., home of the Sierra Nevada mountain range. If you've been there, you know it's truly heaven on earth. You also see ‘Sierra’ as the name of so many things there. It's a name I really loved and we discussed before our first child was born. There wasn't another girl’s name on the list. It suits her perfectly. Sierra Lynn Selman — sounds like a country singer, doesn't it?”
FOX SPORTS: Daytona will be here before you know it, and now you’ll have two children to juggle on the road. What are your plans for traveling with the children this season and, in particular, at Daytona?
LITTLE: “I so wish I was able to travel with my kids to every race, but there's just no way. Given that I live on the West Coast, the flights are too long for little ones to do every week. Plus, when I'm on the road I'm at the track most of my waking hours. It wouldn't be fair to the kids. However, every year we go to Daytona as a family for the two weeks of SpeedWeeks. We rent a condo there and have the whole family come. It's worked out great with Carter the last two years, and now we'll add Sierra to the mix. I work such long hours while there that it's such a blessing to come back to the condo and see their little faces and get to be mom. Plus, we take our son to the track a couple times, and he loves it. Kyle Busch is his favorite, as he lines his pockets with M&M's while there.”
FOX SPORTS: You recently became one of nine women in your hometown of Las Vegas to be recognized for your charitable work with the annual Vegas Gives award. Tell us about your charity of choice and why it’s a passion of yours.
LITTLE: “This was such a nice surprise. Such powerful, influential women top that list each year, so I was definitely surprised to be honored. I'm on the Board of Trustees for the Las Vegas chapter of Speedway Children's Charities (founded by Bruton Smith, with chapters located at all of his SMI tracks). I'm passionate about helping underprivileged kids, so this is a perfect way to give back. I chose them because they are a smaller charity that doesn't get the attention most of the other charities receive locally. Every dollar I can raise for this Vegas Gives event goes straight to SCC. This year, I raised $5,000. It's a great fundraising opportunity for me.”
FOX SPORTS: You are extremely active in the animal community in Las Vegas and have published a calendar. Tell us about this and how you got started with these efforts.
LITTLE: “When I signed with FOX I suddenly had the second half of the year free, something I've never had before. So, I took advantage of the time off by signing up to volunteer at The Animal Foundation here in Vegas. It's Nevada's largest shelter and one of the largest in the country. They received 34,000 homeless animals in 2015 alone. Staggering numbers. They cannot turn an animal away, no matter the size, health or temperament. I started working with the animals and walking dogs a few times a week and quickly realized I wanted to do more. I created the ‘Las Vegas to the Rescue’ calendar. I asked local celebs like UFC star Miesha Tate, Wayne Newton, Carrot Top and even NASCAR driver Brendan Gaughan to pose with shelter dogs that I chose. I literally would pick up a dog of choice from the shelter and drive to the shoot. I'm happy to say we raised about $5,000 and every dog featured in the calendar found a home. My mission is to get everyone to adopt, not shop.”
FOX SPORTS: Once upon a time, you wanted a Clydesdale of your own. Has that gone anywhere, and if not, do you foresee ever owning one?
LITTLE: “Haha. Yes, I almost got a Budweiser Clydesdale. True story. When they sponsored Kevin Harvick two years ago, I was given the opportunity to visit Warm Springs Ranch in Missouri and see where all of the horses are bred and raised. They offered me a Clydesdale of my own. I went on a mission to find a place to board it in Vegas but came up short. Those horses eat a ton and need a lot of room and there isn't much here. I'd love to make that dream a reality one day. ONE DAY I will have a farm. I'm animal obsessed. Krissie Newman, Ryan Newman's wife, is my hero. What she's done with their Rescue Ranch is so inspiring. They rescue animals of all types and educate children, too.”
FOX SPORTS: What is the wildest thing you witnessed while covering the X Games? If you could choose any extreme game activity to participate in, which one would it be and why?
LITTLE: “I've been very lucky to have witnessed and reported on some of the biggest moments in X Games history. Most of those were in Freestyle Motocross. I was there when Carey Hart attempted the first ever backflip (Gravity Games, 2001), then when Mike Metzger pulled off the-first-ever back-to-back backflips at X Games and the biggest moment ever was when Travis Pastrana pulled a double backflip. Those are all moments that will live on in history and in my heart. Freestyle is too crazy for me, so if I was going to compete at X Games, I'd be in Rallycross. Racing without putting my life on the line.”
FOX SPORTS: What would someone who doesn’t know you be surprised to learn about you?
LITTLE: “I'm an only child who was raised by a single mom. I don't watch much TV, never have. I won the 2008 Toyota Pro Celebrity race in Long Beach, edging out Mike Skinner. I became the 2nd woman to ever win it, on the same day that Danica Patrick won her sole IndyCar race in Japan.”
FOX SPORTS: Modeling has been a large part of your career. Has it helped you as a broadcaster in any way? And do you still model or do you have plans to in the future?
LITTLE: “I grew up watching my mom as a showgirl at Harrah's Lake Tahoe. She was also a model on the side. That was normal to me, so it was natural that I aspired to be a model out of high school. I didn't enjoy school and didn't want to go to college. After six months in Los Angeles, I quickly learned that modeling wasn't my cup of tea. I wanted to use my brain and voice instead of my looks to get ahead. I also realized that journalism was something I wanted to pursue, and if I was serious, I had to go to college. I signed up at San Diego State University and graduated with my journalism degree. I don't like modeling necessarily, but I enjoy being a spokesperson for different companies. That's fun.”
FOX SPORTS: What is your best memory of growing up the child of a showgirl? And did you inherit your mom’s dancing talents?
LITTLE: “First off, NO, I am not a dancer. I rode horses growing up and later raced downhill mountain bikes. No dancing talent in my body. My mom was a showgirl in the ‘80s. I met some pretty cool people. A lot of big stars used to perform in Lake Tahoe, including Sammy Davis Jr. I also used to get to watch the show, but I had to watch upstairs from the lighting booth. It was pretty neat to be surrounded by all the showgirls and guys. My mom was the only one with a child at the time, so I was kind of like their mascot. I learned early how cool and fun entertainment could be.”
FOX SPORTS: Is there anything in your career that you haven’t covered that you’d like to?
LITTLE: “I've always wanted to cover the Olympics. Any sport. That would be quite the experience. But I'm a motorsports girl and I'm happy to say I've covered everything in that realm, and more, than I wanted to.”
FOX SPORTS: You’ve raced dirt bikes in the past and did quite well. Who from your FOX NASCAR on-air team would you most like to take for a dirt bike ride?
LITTLE: “I just played around, doing some little races in my 20s. I was better at racing a car. Of my co-workers, I'd like to ride with Chris Neville. He owns a bike and loves to ride. I'd like to see Jeff Gordon throw his leg over a dirt bike, too. I really enjoy the time I get to spend with him. He's just so interesting with great stories.”