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Motor sports: High-flying Stadium Super Trucks make Denton County debut

FORT WORTH -- Robby Gordon's high-flying Speed Energy Stadium Super Trucks are the opening and closing act for Saturday night's Indy car race at Texas Motor Speedway, and Race 1 featured big air, trucks stuck on walls and a little payback.

The globetrotting truck series features familiar names such as Gordon, PJ Jones, Matthew Brabham and Arie Luyendyk Jr., and most of these were in on the action in the afternoon round.

Jones -- a veteran of 33 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series races, 60 major Indy car races and two Indianapolis 500s -- held off Gordon on a late restart to take the victory, followed by Gavin Harlien, Paul Morris and Brabham.

The track layout utilized the start/finish line of the main TMS oval, followed by two high-speed jumps on the frontstretch. At the end of pit road, the trucks made a hard left and jumped an aluminum ramp to get over the inside wall and into the infield. Three right turns led to a high dirt ramp that had the trucks crossing over themselves - the leaders jumping over the back of the pack - on a 140-foot flight to a dirt landing ramp.

A sharp left led to a small ramp and a narrow gap to get back through the inside wall and out onto pit road. The trucks raced north - the "wrong way" - up pit lane to the far end of the tiny legends car oval, which they used to get back to the frontstretch and the start/finish line.

Luyendyk brought out the first caution when Jones ran him into the wall in the infield's clockwise loop - apparently revenge for an incident earlier in the season. Two other trucks momentarily joined Luyendyk along the water barriers, with at least two others bumping into them on their way past.

Luyendyk lost a lap as officials worked to get him off the wall, and he finished seventh in the 10-truck field.

Gordon restarted third and got a run on Jones coming off the high-speed jumps. Gordon was on the inside headed to Turn 1 and the jump to the infield. But leader Erik Davis drove too hot into the turn and had to slow down as he made a wide turn onto the ramp. Jones ran into the back of Davis, whose truck fell off the ramp and got stuck on the wall, ending his race.

Gordon, who had been making a pass for second, found himself with a clear view as the leader. When the field was reset for the final restart, however, Gordon was positioned in second behind Jones.

Action was guaranteed when the fastest trucks from qualifying started in the back after a field inversion. By the end of the race, at least two trucks lost hoods or fenders on the circuit.

For Race 2, dirt was added to one of the infield straights and the following turn, with dirt jumps at both ends. Gordon said he would have liked to have more dirt down for Race 1, but officials needed to keep the oval clean for the Verizon IndyCar Series main event.

"Two cautions is a big bummer," Gordon said. "It's a hard track to pass on. I think once we go to the dirt section tonight it'll get better.

"As soon as the Indy car race is over, we're going to do one more moto tonight. We'll get all the trucks repaired and we'll go back at it one more time. This time we'll use the whole racetrack, use the dirt section as well. Should be a bit more exciting."

Gordon is well known for his NASCAR and Indy car experience. Luyendyk raced in the 2006 Indy 500, and his father won the race in 1990. Brabham ran at Indy last year and has two Formula E starts and two V8 Supercars starts.

The Stadium Super Trucks have raced in Adelaide and Perth, Australia, this year. The tentative schedule includes stops in Darwin, Australia, Beijing and Shanghai.