LAS VEGAS -- The Busch brothers have returned home.
And this time, they may be poised to be better than ever.
Kyle and Kurt Busch, who together and individually ruled the Las Vegas-area short tracks as kids under the watch eyes of their parents, return to do battle on one of NASCAR's biggest stages, in today's Kobalt Tools 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Never before have they arrived in such prominent fashion.
Kyle Busch leads the Sprint Cup standings and older brother Kurt is second, marking the first time since 1988 members of the same family hold the top two spots in points.
There's good reason: The Busch brothers are the only two drivers in the Cup series with top-10 finishes in the season's first two races.
Another strong performance by each Sunday -- particularly on a 1.5-mile track that is the most common found in the series -- and the brothers may share another distinction this year: title contenders.
"It's a great opportunity for both of us to be leading coming to the home town," Kyle said. "I don't know that there's any added pressure, but there's definitely some resilience there where we're feeling blessed to be in the position we're in."
Kyle starts fifth Sunday, while Kurt lines up 22nd. Matt Kenseth starts from the pole.
Only two races into the 2011 season, neither brother is reading too much into statistics just yet.
"I certainly wish it was two (races) to go rather than two (races) in (the season). It's a long season so being in the points lead now is a good opportunity, showing that we've had a good start," Kyle said.
Kurt prefers to wait several more races before drawing any conclusions.
"I always look at the first seven to nine races on where you rank," he said. "After that point in the season is how you're going to settle in for the long summer run."
While both Busch brothers have run well at Las Vegas, Kyle holds the duo's only victory, which came in the 2009 season.
"The fact that he's won here before stings a bit. I've been on the pole; he's been on pole here," Kurt said. "Him winning here was great for our family and all the friends that have supported us over the years.
"I just want to be able to do it as well."
The Busch brothers have each drawn their own share of enemies during their respective NASCAR careers and both have drawn the ire of NASCAR officials.
They've also done battle with each other, the most notable incident coming in the 2007 NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race that left lingering bad feelings for months afterward.
Could NASCAR handle Busch vs. Busch to decide the series championship?
"I think it would be great to battle each other. Every time there's a Chase that we're involved with together it's seems to draw more attention around our programs," Kurt said.