Tony Stewart marked his time off by flipping a sprint car during a race, visiting the White House and battling a winter cold. It was hardly the restful, relaxing offseason he had in mind.

Now, a mere two months after winning his second Nextel Cup championship, Stewart heads to Daytona International Speedway to begin his title defense. The 2006 season revs up Saturday night with the made-for-TV Budweiser Shootout, followed by the Feb. 19 Daytona 500.

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