FONTANA Before Hollywood honored the best movies, actors, directors and screenwriters of the year Sunday night, NASCAR held its twice-yearly celebration of horsepower and RPMs at nearby California Speedway. Still, Costner gave the Auto Club 500 at California Speedway some added superstar power. Here is a look at some other superstar performances during the race: Best recovery after a disastrous Daytona 500: This is a category Costner can relate to. “Waterworld,” one of the biggest cinematic blunders ever, preceded “Tin Cup,” one of the funniest sports movies ever, showing anyone can rebound successfully after a disaster. The nominees were many. Tony Stewart, Jimmie Johnson, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Kurt Busch all ran into trouble at Daytona. Michael Waltrip, who was penalized severely for having his car fail inspection at Daytona, took himself out of the running for this award Friday. He failed to qualify and because of his penalty at Daytona, still has yet to record an official point in the driver standings. And the winner is & Jimmie Johnson: He finished third in the race, collected some important driver points and climbed back into Chase contention. Millions watched to see if Hollywood would finally show its love for Martin Scorsese. But even Oscar-winning actor and director Kevin Costner found the appeal of NASCAR stronger than Hollywood. He was in attendance, with another estimated 87,000 NASCAR faithful braving the cold and cloudy skies, to command the drivers to start their engines and perform with his band before the race. For those wondering, he really should stick to acting and directing and leave music for the likes of Sammy Hagar. “We needed these points,” Johnson said. “We needed to get them back after Daytona.” How the other nominees fared: Tony Stewart was eighth, led four times for 28laps and has to be happier with his finish at California Speedway than his last-place performance at Daytona. Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s car lost power and oil pressure, his engine blew up and he did not finish the race. He took a bow after spinning out, but coming in 40th wasn’t exactly how he wanted the sequel to Daytona to unfold. “I am concerned about the points now after Daytona and here,” Earnhardt Jr. said. “We like to run well and I had a great car, and am really proud of our ability to get the car to handle well. It was working good and really fast when the motor was working right. We like to finish good and I know it is early in the season, so we can’t get down. We have to stay positive, pumped up. Guys have come back from this before and made the playoffs. We can do it.” Kurt Busch was seventh, not much of a factor, and was able to move up when Kevin Harvick had a flat tire with seven laps to go in the race. Breakthrough performance: There were several new drivers and teams entered in the race, but few had an impact. After flipping, burning and finishing the Daytona 500 with the roof of his car skidding across the finish line, Clint Bowyer had all four tires on the track at the end of the California Speedway race – a marked improvement. Brian Vickers came in with a new team and J.J. Yeley looked like he was headed for a top-10 finish. And the winner is & Clint Bowyer: He finished sixth and was part of another strong effort for Richard Childress Racing. “The old girl, Betsy, has been awesome since we unloaded,” Bowyer said. “She is my favorite car. I had a blast out there running up there today with my teammates.” How the other nominees fared: Brian Vickers has seven starts at California Speedway with one pole and one top-five finish. He won the pole during the Labor Day race in 2004. He finished third in the Labor Day race in 2005. Both of those performances came when he was with Hendrick Motorsports. This was his first race at California Speedway in a Toyota. He finished 10th, tops among Toyota drivers. J.J. Yeley finished 13th. He’s still looking for his first top-five finish at California Speedway. Most impressive foreign influence: This was essentially Japan vs. Colombia. Toyota, the Japanese car manufacturer, had four cars in the race. Juan Pablo Montoya, the Colombian-born driver of the No. 42 Dodge for Chip Ganassi Racing, was making his first start in a NASCAR Nextel Cup Series race at California Speedway. And the winner is & Brian Vickers: He was the only Toyota driver to finish on the lead lap. It wasn’t his best finish at California Speedway, but if not for him, Toyota would have little to celebrate. How the other nominees fared: Dave Blaney ran in the top five, then ran into oil-pressure problems and withdrew from the race. He was 39th after ending his race on lap 112. David Reutimann crashed late in the race, after Greg Biffle bumped him into the wall, and finished 33rd. Dale Jarrett was four laps down when the race ended and finished in 32nd. Juan Pablo Montoya finished ahead three of the four Toyota drivers, but he was two laps down at the end of the race and in 26th place. Best overall performance: Harvick, the winner of the Daytona 500, looked like he was on his way to a runner-up finish Sunday when he cut a tire and had to pit with seven laps to go. Johnson led twice for 31laps and was on his way to his second career Cup win at California Speedway when a piece of mystery debris was discovered with 23laps to go. A caution period came out, the cars pitted and Johnson lost fourplaces. Jeff Burton led four times for 18 laps and put together another top-five effort. He finished fourth in Sunday’s race after coming in third in the Daytona 500. And the winner is & Jeff Burton: He is second in points, on the strength of his finishes at California Speedway and Daytona, but he might as well be in first. Mark Martin, who was fifth in the Auto Club 500, leads the Cup standings, but he is not going to run the entire Cup schedule. Not, not, not. Let’s see if his mind changes. How the other nominees fared: Harvick ended up 17thafter an untimely flat tire and unscheduled trip down pit lane. “I don’t know what I hit,” Harvick said. “I didn’t notice we hit anything, but it is just one of those deals.” Johnson moved up to 15thplace in the Cup standings by finishing third in the race. Now he has to do better than Robby Gordon and Johnny Sauter to get in the top12 and have a spot in the Chase. Johnson probably has little to worry about. “It’s good to get some points back and get back going in the right direction,” Johnson said. “I really felt like we had a chance to win today. We had one of those debris cautions with five trucks on the track looking for debris and never found it. It’s frustrating when that happens and we had to pit and had a bad pit stop and lost the lead at that point. But all in all it was a great day.” [email protected] (818) 713-3715 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!