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UNLV coaches burn rubber at Las Vegas Motor Speedway

UNLV women’s basketball coach Lindy La Rocque and NASCAR champions Kurt and Kyle Busch went to Las Vegas’ Durango High School, where they were separated by several years.

But judging from Tuesday’s Rebel Caravan stop at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, you would have sworn they had passed each other in the hallway or on their way to study hall.

“I have met them both, and we have a lot of family pictures (with the Busch brothers),” La Rocque said after speeding around the LVMS infield road course in a $300,000 lime green Dream Racing Lamborghini Huracan Perfomante. “I have always respected what they have done on this racetrack, and now to get in a car and go fast … they’re athletes. That’s draining. I did five laps, and I’m exhausted.”

This is the third year of the Rebel Caravan during which UNLV coaches meet and greet and interact with the Las Vegas community in casual settings. La Rocque was joined at LVMS by football coach Marcus Arroyo, newly hired men’s basketball coach Kevin Kruger and volleyball coach Dawn Sullivan.

You could tell from their reactions that this setting was a little less casual than speaking to a local Kiwanis club.

“I like going fast and I like racing a little bit, but I haven’t done it like this,” Arroyo said after wriggling out of a royal blue, 729 horsepower Lamborghini Aventador S that has a sticker price of $417,826, a top speed of 217 mph.

It can go from 0 to 60 in 2.4 seconds. Arroyo and the other coaches were accompanied by a Dream Racing instructor and didn’t approach those benchmarks, although it felt like it.

“I was just trying to make sure my coach didn’t grab the wheel and come in early because I wanted to stay on the track,” he said.

Sullivan, who recently guided the volleyball team to a second-round showing in the NCAA tournament, seemed hesitant to climb behind the wheel of one of the low-slung Lamborghinis. But like the other coaches, she quickly got up to speed.

“It was incredible, just a thrill right?” she asked rhetorically. “I do like to go fast, but never this fast.”

For Kruger, it was sort of like playing against run-and-gun Loyola Marymount back in the day, multiplied by about 50.

“I have no idea,” he said when asked how fast he went. “I was paralyzed, eyes forward, worried about where I was going. To think about doing that with other cars out there wouldn’t cross my mind.”

But you could tell that thought already had crossed Arroyo’s mind.

When LVMS publicity director Jeff Motley sidled up to tell the coach that he looked like a racing driver, Arroyo was as quick with a retort as he was on the track.

“Does that mean I get to go again?”

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

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