Supercross still resonates with NASCAR’s Jamie Little

Updated May 4, 2017 - 7:31 pm

Controversy swirled in Jamie Little’s world last weekend, even if she wasn’t on hand for some of it.

The NASCAR pit road reporter from Las Vegas skipped those duties at Richmond, Virginia, to host Fox’s Supercross coverage in New Jersey. So when fellow Las Vegan Kyle Busch was penalized late in the Cup Series race, Chris Neville had to chase down Kyle, who was in no mood to talk.

“That probably would have been me,” Little said after Busch uttered a terse response.

There were contretemps in Supercross, too.

Marvin Musquin was leading on the last lap when he made a “mistake” — from the replay it appeared he pulled over so Red Bull KTM teammate Ryan Dungey would inherit the win and overhaul points leader Eli Tomac.

Those two will decide the title in Saturday night’s season finale at Sam Boyd Stadium.

“That’s what u call team orders,” wrote two-time Indy 500 winner Juan Pablo Montoya on his Twitter account.

Little was more diplomatic on hers: “A lot of boos for Musquin & Dungey after that pass for the win. Was it team orders? Or was it an honest mistake?”

This week she spoke of a passion for Supercross engendered by riding off-road motorcycles during her youth and sneaking in under the fence at Sam Boyd Stadium — not hard to do for a self-professed tomboy — to watch the Supercross riders compete.

“The first autograph I got was Jeremy McGrath,” said Little, who will resume her NASCAR duties at Talladega, Alabama, this weekend as Dungey and Tomac settle matters in the Las Vegas dirt. “He was a rookie, and just so … good-looking. From that day on, I was hooked.”

With Fox having broadcast rights to NASCAR and Supercross, it has allowed Little to rekindle her passion as a Supercross host.

As for the postrace wrangling at MetLife Stadium, she said Musquin made his “mistake” where top riders normally would not make one, and that she is picking Dungey to win his fourth consecutive title.

Black flag for Jerry Punch

Dr. Jerry Punch, who did not invent pit road reporting, though it may seem like it, was a victim of the ESPN purge that resulted in 100 layoffs. His final assignment will be an IndyCar race in Detroit in June.

“I’ve known Dr. Punch a long time,” said Little, who teamed with Punch in her first IndyCar race in 2004. “I learned a lot from him, how to deal with people. He could do it all.”

Punch, 63, was a walk-on quarterback at North Carolina State under Lou Holtz, which led to him becoming a college football TV reporter. He has called multiple Las Vegas Bowls for ESPN. His son, Logan, was a walk-on long snapper for the Tennessee football team.

“But Doc chose racing, that was his passion,” Little said. “He truly lives the sport, and he was a big part of it for so many years.”

Pastrana to drive at LVMS

It’s a match made in hot dog heaven. Travis Pastrana, known for his hot dog antics in the X Games and Nitro Circus, will drive in September’s NASCAR Truck Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway with primary sponsorship from Wienerschnitzel.

Pastrana, who last was seen on the track here in 2015, also in a racing truck, ran a full Xfinity Series schedule in 2013.

“I love NASCAR, and Las Vegas is always a good time, so I’m really looking forward to racing there later this season,” the 33-year-old action sports star said in a statement. “I’ve done a lot of work over the past couple of years to try to improve my pavement skills.”

White flag

During a 1988 NASCAR race at Bristol, Tennessee, Punch dropped his microphone and rushed to the aid of Rusty Wallace, who was knocked unconscious in a crash on the front stretch.

Punch cleared an airway so Wallace could breathe again. Rusty raced the next night.

Unlike Julius Erving, Jerry Punch really was a doctor.

Contact Ron Kantowski at or 702-383-0352. Follow @ronkantowski on Twitter.

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