RICHMOND, VA - SEPTEMBER 11:  Jimmie Johnson (L), driver of the #48 Lowe's Chevrolet, talks to Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Chevrolet, in the garage area during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Federated Auto Parts 400 at Richmond International Raceway on September 11, 2015 in Richmond, Virginia.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
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Dale Earnhardt Jr. ‘pulling’ for Jimmie Johnson to reach title No. 7

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Dale Earnhardt Jr. has no reservations.  He wants Jimmie Johnson to win a seventh Sprint Cup title.

Johnson, who is locked into the third round of the Chase for the Sprint Cup title for the first time in the elimination format era, is the closest he’s been to a seventh title in three years. Doing so would tie him with Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt Sr. for the all-time record.

Earnhardt Jr. can’t wait for it to happen.

“Really excited for Jimmie,” he said in the latest episode of the Dale Jr. Download. “He wants that so badly. We’ve had a few conversations about that. I know how much that would mean to him. I think he’s one of the greatest race car drivers this sport’s seen.”

Johnson’s sixth title came in 2013, which followed a streak of five championships from 2006-2010. Earlier this year Johnson tied, then passed Earnhardt Sr. on the all-time win list. Johnson’s win Sunday at Charlotte Motor Speedway was his 78th.

“Obviously to win five championships in a row is unbelievable and the argument is undeniable that he is one of the greatest,” said Earnhardt Jr., who celebrated his 42nd birthday Monday. “He ranks right up there with the old man, anyone else you want to put in that conversation. To be quite honest, I am pulling for Jimmie to get this championship, and I believe he does deserve it after everything he’s put into the sport. I think it would be good for him to go ahead and win that championship.”

There were many questions around whether Johnson or any Hendrick Motorsports team would have the speed and consistency to advance passed the second round of the Chase. Johnson’s victory ended a 24-race winless streak for the organization, its longest stretch in more than 20 years and the longest of Johnson’s career.

Kasey Kahne finished the Bank of America 500 in third, his best result since a 2014 Atlanta win, 77 races ago. Alex Bowman, who is substituting for Earnhardt in the No. 88, qualified second for the race before being taken out in a crash resulting from a cut tire.

“It’s a bit frustrating to not be in the car knowing the cars are so good,” said Earnhardt, who hasn’t raced since July. “We’ve made so much strides over the last several months at HMS to improve our cars and improve our speed and that’s starting to show right when we need it to. I knew and said several times over the summer when the Chase came around we would rebound and be strong and we have. I’m not surprised. I was surprised by how frustrating and difficult the summer was, but I knew we would get it going. So I’m happy about that and makes me excited to be in the car when I do get back in there.”

Earnhardt won’t get back in his car until 2017 as he recovers from the concussion he sustained in June at Michigan International Speedway. Bowman will drive the No. 88 in all but one of the final six races. Jeff Gordon will make his last scheduled start at Martinsville.

But Earnhardt said he’ll attend all the remaining races, with the possible exception of Phoenix.

“I’ll be coming into Phoenix on Friday, but I don’t think I’m going to stay for the race,” Earnhardt said. “It’s certainly a unique perspective from my point of view. It’s huge relief for me to not be in the car so I can get well.”

Kyle, Kurt Busch compete in first day of Race of Champions exhibition

DOVER, DE - MAY 30:  Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet, left, talks with brother Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 Skittles Toyota, in the garage area during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series FedEx 400 Benefiting Autism Speaks at Dover International Speedway on May 30, 2015 in Dover, Delaware.  (Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)
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Kurt and Kyle Busch are in Miami this weekend to take part in the international auto racing competition, Race of Champions. The exhibition event is two days and pits drivers from every major auto racing league against each other.

The Busch brothers are the only NASCAR representatives in the competition. They are joined multiple Formula One drivers, Verizon IndyCar Series drivers Helio Castroneves, Juan Pablo Montoya, Alexander Rossi, Ryan-Hunter Reay, James Hinchciffe and Tony Kanaan and action sports star Travis Pastrana. Prior to the start of the races, all of the drivers got psyched up together.

And right before the event began, Kurt Busch showed off his new No. 41 Monster Energy Ford by doing donuts in the middle of the race course.

But when it came time to race Kurt Busch’s had a tough day. He and former Formula One driver David Coulthard competed in the vehicles used in the NASCAR Euro Series and Coulthard crossed the finish line with a healthy lead over the Stewart-Haas Racing driver.

Kyle Busch was marginally better in his first race against F1 driver Jenson Button, who won but with the Joe Gibbs Racing driver right at Button’s rear wheel.

But Kyle Busch bounced back in his second race and defeated Hinchcliffe, which advanced him out of the first round. But he was eliminated from the competition when he was swept by Coulthard in the next round.

In Kurt Busch’s second race, he faced Hunter-Reay, who was one of his teammates when he competed in the 2014 Indianapolis 500. Busch won, but he wasn’t able to advance to the next round.

The competition was eventually won by Montoya, who is taking part in the Race of Champions for the first time.

Both Busch brothers will be back on Sunday to compete for the Nations Cup.

Kyle Busch entered into SRL Winter Showdown Super Late Model race

JOLIET, IL - SEPTEMBER 16:  Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 NOS Energy Drink Toyota, stands in the garage area during practice for the NASCAR XFINITY Series Drive for Safety 300 at Chicagoland Speedway on September 16, 2016 in Joliet, Illinois. Busch is seen here wearing his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series fire suit.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
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Kyle Busch is entered into the third annual SRL Winter Showdown, a Super Late Model race at Kern County Raceway Park in Bakersfield, California.

Busch, who is competing in the Race of Champions this weekend in Miami, will drive the No. 51 Toyota Camry sponsored by JBL in the Feb. 11 race.

Busch and his competitors will be trying to claim the $30,000 prize for winning the race. Kyle Busch Motorsports had a presence in last year’s Showdown when Todd Gilliland competed for the team.

“They have a pretty strong field lined up again this year with Bubba Pollard coming back and trying to make it three-in-a-row. And then you add in some of the West Coast guys like Derek Thorn, David Mayhew and Noah Gragson, who will be running one of my trucks full-time this season, and it has a lot of great drivers,” Busch told “One of the things that is going to be really cool is that this will be the first time that Erik Jones and I get to race against each other in the supers since he beat me in the Snowball Derby back in 2013.”

Busch is quite successful in his Super Late Model career, having won the Snowball Derby, CRA SpeedFest, the Oxford 250, the Winchester 400 and the Battle at Berlin in recent years.

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Social Roundup: 2017 NASCAR Hall of Fame Induction

CHARLOTTE, NC - JANUARY 20:  NASCAR Hall of Fame inductees (L-R)Richard Childress, Mark Martin, and Rick Hendrick pose for a portrait prior to the NASCAR Hall of Fame Class of 2017 Induction Ceremony at NASCAR Hall of Fame on January 20, 2017 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
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Last night, the NASCAR Hall of Fame inducted its eighth class, including Rick Hendrick, Richard Childress, Mark Martin, Benny Parsons and Raymond Parks.

The night was filled with current and future Hall of Famers celebrating the history of the sport and the lives of the five inductees.

MORE: Benny Parsons’ Hall of Fame induction an emotional celebration

MORE: Mark Martin went from a “broken man” to a Hall of Famer

Here’s a look at how the night played out on social media with observations on the inductees from current NASCAR drivers and one message from future NFL Hall of Famer Peyton Manning.

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‘Only in America’: Richard Childress cherishes Hall of Fame induction (Video)

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CHARLOTTE — Richard Childress traced his Dickensian rise from humble beginnings to six championships in NASCAR’s premier series during his Hall of Fame induction speech Friday.

Childress, who grew up in poverty in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, won six championships in NASCAR’s premier series with fellow high school dropout Dale Earnhardt. After starting as an independent driver-owner who never won in a dogged career from 1968-81, Childress switched to focusing solely on running a team.

His grandson, Austin Dillon, now drives the No. 3 for Richard Childress Racing that Earnhardt made famous.

“Only in America could a kid selling peanuts and popcorn at Bowman Gray Stadium have a dream of becoming a race driver some day,” Childress said. “And then he goes out and buys him an old ’47 Plymouth (and) pays $20 for it — that was the best investment I ever made — and have a dream of being a NASCAR driver some day, be standing up here tonight to be inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame.  Only in America.  What a great country we live in.”

During his speech, Childress made several references to a wall he’d like to put in the stock-car museum to signify all those who paved the way for his success.

“I’d like to put a 10‑foot by 20‑foot granite wall with thousands of names etched in it that’s helped me all along the way to get here tonight,” he said. “I can’t thank you all, but I want to put you on a great granite wall to where I can thank you for getting us up here.

“But on that granite wall, the first thing would be my family.  My wife Judy, my daughter Tina, my son‑in‑law, Mike Dillon, grandson Ty and his wife Haley, she’s here tonight.  Grandson Austin and his fiancé, Whitney Ward.  I couldn’t have done it without you all’s support.  We are a NASCAR racing family.”