The Best Man For The Job Is a Woman

Kelly CrandallSenior Writer IJanuary 28, 2009

“Never let a woman do a man's job.”

How many times have you heard that phrase?

When it comes to sports, the thought is of mostly stick-and-ball sports and rough nosed weekends of males trying to prove themselves and their masculinity.

A female hardly ever comes to mind unless thinking of the arm candy for the photo-shoot and the sideline, or the groupies in the stands trying to get the quarterbacks number.

The same goes for NASCAR, it's a male dominated and male perfected sport.

NASCAR doesn't have their version of Danica Patrick or Ashley Force, and who knows when they might come along and if they would be able to change the face of NASCAR.

What the sport does have is their John Madden and Dan Patrick.

The reporters and sportscasters that do their job get their name out there to the public and begin to have their own following.

Two pit reporters and one pre-race host has done that for NASCAR and they're woman, but some people can't even tell anymore, because in 2008 these females raised the bars for kind and maybe even redefine it.

Not many audiences tune in for the pre-race show.

rista Voda changed that in 2008, when she became the full-time host of the Camping World Truck Series "Set-Up" show. She knew what she was talking about and how to engage both the drivers and the audience.

She hosted one show from the infield while sitting in the back of a pick-up truck. Plus it doesn’t hurt that she’s easy on the eyes.

"I understand racing," she said. " I can talk about down-force and what's going on with the car at a moment. But it's not necessarily anything that I'm dealing with when I'm out on the road."

Voda, who hails from Iowa, comes from a background of reporting NCAA tournaments, College and NFL football games, and even the Kentucky Derby.

NASCAR came calling in 2001 when she became host of what was then called Totally NASCAR on the Fox Sports Network.

In 2006 Voda became a pit reporter in the Truck Series and has now become the face of their programming. She also regularly contributes to all NASCAR races on Fox as well as being an anchor on Speed Channel's Speed Reporton Sunday nights and writes articles for, and You can also catch her voice on the occasional radio broadcast.

Voda's broadcast background is nearly as impressive as the accolades she's received.

She was voted the 2008 "Sexist Sportscaster in America" as well as No. 19 on the list of Sporting News' 60 Most Beautiful People.

No. 10 on the Sporting News List is a former model from Las Vegas, Jamie Little.

Little also comes from a background of covering many other events before joining the NASCAR tour in 2007 for ESPN.

She reported on both the summer and Winter X Games for events such as X Kart Championship, Daytona Supercross and in 2002.

In 2004 Little got her first taste of pit road reporting when covering the Indy Racing League on ESPN and ABC. A year later she became the first woman to be employed as an Indianapolis 500 pit reporter.

In 2008 Little became a full-time pit reporter for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series on ESPN broadcasts.

"We focus on ... the driver. We're asking the drivers questions," she said. "I feel like ... we're so hard on ourselves to ask the right questions ... and to get a good answer from the guys. Not just a 'How's the car?'."

If the pit reporting doesn't work out, Little might have a career behind the wheel.

Last year she beat many celebrities and racecar drivers in the Toyota Pro-Celebrity Race, becoming just the second woman to ever win the event.

Before the 2009 NASCAR season begins Little will once again be covering all snowmobile events in the Winter X Games.

But Little doesn't run pit road alone, her partner is Florida's Shannon Spake who ranked at No.7 on Sporting News' 60 Most Beautiful people list.

However, before Spake could do that she jumped around from many different jobs such as being a Nickelodeon assistant in New York.

While there, she was an Associate Producer for the CBS Early Show and then moved on to Production Assistant for Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel, and now in the sports world she never looked back.

In 2005 she joined the Speed Channel NASCAR Nation show and co-hosted Champions Week that year in New York City.

Now she and Jamie Little run pit road — no pun intended.

"I don't think that we necessarily deal with anything that a male reporter wouldn't, honestly," Spake said.

If that's the case then why are these three judged more harshly than their male counterparts?

They have the credentials, they work hard and haven't "blown it" on national television, they greatly offset their co-workers and bring a breath of fresh air to the broadcast, not to mention the hope they bring to the young females watching and dreaming.

Break down the gender barrier and let them do their job, the one that they've worked hard for and that they are passionate about: racing.

None of them are perfect, neither are the male reporters but we fans are tuning in for the race, as long as they inform us about what is occurring then there is no problem.

No reporter, male or female, asks the questions that sometimes need to be asked. The one that we all scream at out TV when something happens on the track.

It is, however, refreshing to see these three women shoulder-to-shoulder with NASCAR's best and is allowed to be there.


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