Quick Stats: Jamie Little, pit reporter, NASCAR on Fox
Daily Driver: 2016 Toyota Sequoia Platinum (Jamie’s rating: 9 on a scale of 1 to 10)
Other cars: see below
Favorite road trip: Las Vegas to Lake Tahoe
Car she learned to drive in: 1992 Nissan pickup
First car bought: 2002 Pontiac Firebird
As someone who enjoys an active outdoorsy lifestyle, Jamie Little relies on her 2016 Toyota Sequoia Platinum as her go-to car.
“It’s a huge car, so it’s pretty darn awesome for all the things I like to do,” Fox’s NASCAR pit reporter tells Motor Trend, giving it a 9 on a scale of 10.
She bought it when she was pregnant with her second child, so Little needed lots of space. “It has a third row, and we also had three dogs at the time, too,” she says. “I don’t care about keeping a car super nice. I want to be able to pull dirt bikes with it, put dogs in the back, just make a mess.” She adds that the Sequoia fit her needs as a well-rounded vehicle you can take on long trips and use for off-roading.
The Sequoia has also come in handy for Little, who recently moved to Indianapolis and started driving in snow for the first time. “I’ve realized that it’s really good in the snow; it feels safe,” she says. “It has a super nice turning radius for how big it is. There’s never a problem parking.”
Usually with a large vehicle there’s a lot of backing up and moving the car forward, she adds. “It’s well thought out,” she says. “It has all the bells and whistles, the DVD player, and wireless headsets, and the push [of a] button puts down the third row. My last car you had to physically take the seats out if you didn’t want the third row, and this one you just press a button. It’s pretty awesome.”
2017 Lexus RX
“When you don’t have a car full of dogs and kids, [the Lexus is] nice,” she says. “I don’t like to be low on the ground. I’m a tall girl, and I like to be higher and I like space.”
For Little, the Lexus feels like she’s driving a car. When it comes to a luxury SUV and compared to similar Porsches and many BMWs she’s had, she rates this a perfect 10. “This is just straight luxury … just convenience,” she says. “This car’s just a really smart car, and [it’s] safe.”
Car she learned to drive in
Little grew up in Las Vegas and learned in a black early-1990s Nissan pickup truck that she got just before she took her driver’s test.
“Since I’ve always been a tomboy, I wanted a truck for my first car,” she says. “My mom had a Mercedes, so she wasn’t letting me learn in that. [My Nissan] was a stick, and I am still a big believer in stick. … I loved that, so I really wanted to learn how to drive that, and I loved the truck. I even had dice hanging from the rearview mirror. I don’t know what possessed me, but I was all in.”
Although Little’s mom helped by providing the down payment, Little had to pay the insurance and make the payments. “I cleaned houses in our neighborhood and saved up my money,” she says. “I remember scrubbing many toilets, thinking, ‘OK, I’m getting my first car, stick with it.’ I worked at a law firm that my mom would take me to after school for a while until I was able to get my license.”
Learning to drive in Las Vegas was relatively easy. “The thing is, Vegas is flat, so you didn’t have hills,” she says. “You didn’t have snow. You didn’t have ice to worry about. But it’s pretty darn busy. We lived in Green Valley, and it was booming at the time I turned 16. It was pretty darn busy, and I definitely had a few accidents and fender benders in that car.”
First car bought
Little was an announcer for the Supercross series in 1999 while she was in college, and although she wasn’t making much money, her parents paid for college, so she could put the money she made aside for a car.
When she drove a Pontiac Grand Am rental, it made her want check out those cars. “I found a dealership, and they had this brand-new black Pontiac Firebird,” she says. “It was all tricked out. The Trans Am was the next step up, but this car was the entry. I went in and I drove a few, and I really liked the Firebird. I bought this car cash, and they put the big bow on it. I just remember driving off the lot like, ‘Oh my God. I bought this car with my own money!’ I was so scared to get the first scratch or ding on it, but the feeling was pretty awesome to be able to do that. I was 22 at the time.”
Little started working the X Games for ESPN in 2002 and Gravity Games for NBC.
She was based in San Diego, so there was perfect weather for her new 2002 Pontiac Firebird. “It had the T top, so of course I loved taking those off, and I thought I was so cool, just going down the crazy freeways there with the tops off,” she says. “I remember learning about having a black car and how dirty it gets, especially when you drive to a race track where dirt bikes are. I realized quickly that I didn’t like being that low on the ground and I didn’t like having a car that couldn’t pull trailers for extracurricular activities like mountain bikes and dirt bikes. It was fun, but I only had it for a couple of years and got rid of it.”
At the time, Little was racing mountain bikes, and she soon realized a larger car would be more amenable to her love of outdoor sports. “So I bought a used Yukon,” she says. “I loved that big car. You can do anything with it, which is why all these years later I always have a vehicle like my Sequoia. I just like to have the option.”
Favorite road trip
Little’s favorite road trip is Las Vegas to Lake Tahoe, which takes her about eight hours on Highway 95.
“I lived in Vegas all the way up until a couple months ago, but driving from Vegas to Lake Tahoe is an eight-hour drive,” she says. “You pass Area 51 and then all of a sudden you come into the mountains and then you’re in Lake Tahoe. That’s where I was born, and I just think it’s home on earth, so any time I can go up there, drive up there … I fly into Reno and drive up there. I just think that’s one of the prettiest stretches you can see in a car.”
She loves road trips. “My dad was a musician and drove all over the country,” she says. “He never flew to gigs, so I think there’s part of me, I loved driving, I love traveling by car, I love seeing the country. When my husband and I were dating, I was moving to Charlotte, North Carolina, because it was easier to cover NASCAR. He helped move me from Vegas, and we drove cross country. We would stop along the way at all these different places and even stopped for a NASCAR race along the way before we actually made it to Charlotte. That was a pretty cool memory. Went through Sedona, stayed there for a couple days.”
She makes sure to take her kids on this trip every year now. “Two years ago, I was seven months pregnant,” she says. “We made that road trip up with my son, and we camped.”
They went to a campground with no trailer or anything and pitched a tent, and it became one of the best family moments Little can recall. “We slept right next to the lake, and we bought our sleeping bags and stuff,” she says. “It was such a great memory because we just haven’t done that with my son, and how often do you get out to camp anymore?”
Little had just purchased the Sequoia when she decided to go camping. “We literally opened up the back of the Sequoia, we set everything for camping in there, had all the dogs with us and had a fence for them around a tree,” she says. “It was perfect.”
One day, Little would love to drive from Indianapolis to see Wyoming and Montana, two states she still hasn’t visited. “I’ve loved horses and animals,” she says. “I want to drive through there and then go all the way to the West Coast and maybe … drive all the way down the coast of California through Carmel, along the coast all the way to San Diego. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do.”
NASCAR on Fox
The NASCAR season is on Fox until June 24. Little is in her 12th season reporting from the pits.
“Every weekend, it’s all about racing, it’s all about cars,” she says. “This year NASCAR has a new Camaro coming out [that] looks a lot like a street car, so I know there’s a lot of anticipation for that … because I hear they will be fast. [Fans] want to relate to those cars out there, the ones that they’re driving. Something like that is really exciting for our sport, to see a car that looks like a passenger car.”
Before the NASCAR gig, Little covered IndyCar and 11 Indy 500s, flying to each race. She says that’s another reason why she loves getting in a car and taking road trips. “If races [are] close by, within seven hours, I like to drive if I can,” she says. “When I lived in Vegas, I would drive to Phoenix and California unless the race was in Vegas.”
Little has also authored a book, Essential Car Care for Women.