Drivers react via social media to Tony Stewart/Kevin Ward incident

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The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series is currently preparing for this afternoon’s Cheez-It 355 at Watkins Glen International, but for many in the sport, their thoughts right now are with the family of Kevin Ward Jr.

The 20-year-old sprint car driver was killed last night in a sprint car incident that involved three-time Cup champion Tony Stewart.

Earlier this morning, Stewart Haas Racing competition director Greg Zipadelli announced that Stewart would not compete in today’s race and that Nationwide driver Regan Smith would take his place in the No. 14 SHR Chevrolet.

Many drivers throughout NASCAR have used social media this morning to react to the sad situation, including Cup superstars Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt Jr. Here are some of the posts…

JIMMIE JOHNSON

DALE EARNHARDT JR.

MICHAEL WALTRIP (Sprint Cup team owner and part-time driver)

ELLIOTT SADLER (Nationwide Series driver)

ERIC McCLURE (Nationwide Series driver)

BEN KENNEDY (Camping World Truck Series driver)

DANIEL SUAREZ (K&N Pro Series East/Toyota Mexico Series)

Meanwhile at the Glen, the No. 14 team is carrying on with their duties leading up to today’s green flag. About a half an hour ago, Jeff Gluck of USA Today shot this Vine of the scene in the SHR garage as they prepared for Smith’s arrival.

ESPN has since shown video of Smith and team owner Rick Hendrick arriving at the track via helicopter shortly before Noon ET in its pre-race telecast.

Ricciardo set to see Dale Jr.’s final Texas ride in two weeks (VIDEO)

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We’ve written before about Daniel Ricciardo’s love of Dale Earnhardt and his love of the No. 3, which Ricciardo has selected as his permanent number for the duration of his Formula 1 career. And additionally, Dale Earnhardt Jr. has offered up the opportunity that one day Ricciardo could race a JR Motorsports car in NASCAR Xfinity Series competition, and Ricciardo has said he’d be up for it.

And although Earnhardt Jr. has only used the No. 3 on a handful of occasions in his career in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, Ricciardo knows how much the number means to the NASCAR veteran as he prepares for his final few starts in the Cup Series the tail-end of this year.

After the Mexican Grand Prix next week, Ricciardo is set to stay in North America for the off-week between the Mexican and Brazilian Grands Prix.

In that break, he said he’ll see Earnhardt Jr. in person at the Cup race at Texas Motor Speedway (Sunday, Nov. 5, 2 p.m. ET, NBCSN) to ensure he gets to see him before he retires from full-time competition.

Ricciardo explained his planning during Thursday’s pre-race edition of the NBC Sports Group original digital series Paddock Pass, speaking to NBCSN’s Will Buxton at the United States Grand Prix at Circuit of The Americas in Austin.

“Well I’ll see him for the first time in Dallas. I’m gonna go to the NASCAR race in two weeks time at Texas Motor Speedway,” Ricciardo told NBCSN.

“Yeah, so, I gotta see him race before he hangs up the helmet.

“The Earnhardt family is a huge name in motorsport, not only in America but all over the world. Yeah I wish him well.”

Ricciardo is also optimistic he’ll get the chance to do a helmet swap with Earnhardt Jr. at the event.

“Hopefully I get to see him perform well in Texas. I’m gonna try to do a helmet swap with him. We’ll see how we go.”

Stay tuned for more on this over the coming weeks.