NASCAR champ Stewart wrecks in Shootout practice

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DAYTONA BEACH, FLA. (AP) - 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.

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