NASCAR champ Stewart wrecks in Shootout practice

Defending Sprint Cup Series champion Tony Stewart has wrecked

during practice for the exhibition Budweiser Shootout at Daytona

International Speedway.

Stewart, Kurt Busch, Kyle Busch, Brad Keselowski, AJ

Allmendinger and Jeff Gordon were involved in a six-car accident

about 45 minutes into the first practice session Friday.

Stewart was transported to the infield care center, treated and

released. He seemed to start the melee by driving into the left

side of Kurt Busch’s rear bumper, turning the No. 51 Chevrolet

sideways and setting off the wreck.

The cars of Stewart, Kurt Busch, Kyle Busch, Keselowski and

Allmendinger sustained significant damage. It appeared all of those

drivers were switching to backup cars.

Gordon’s car sustained minor damage.

The Budweiser Shootout, a non-points race, kicks off the 2012

season Saturday night.