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Repeating national championship difficult in URSS

Winning never is easy.

Winning a season title is even harder.

But trying to win two season championships in a row?

Well, it just might be impossible -- or at least it has been so far in the United Rebel Sprint Series history.

The 305 sprint car series is in its seventh year of existence under the leadership of founder Rick Salem of Oberlin.

And each year, the URSS has crowned a new season champ.

"It's definitely getting a lot more difficult because more and more guys are running the 305 deal,"  said Ty Williams, the 2010 series champ. "You have guys like Jason Martin, C.J. (Johnson), Luke (Cranston), Ray (Seemann), Brian (Herbert) and guys like that who compete, and there's some upper level guys getting into it more. There used to be about five guys who were capable of winning, and now there's 10 to 15 who can win each night. Plus, everyone is getting better."

Williams had a dominating year in 2010 while winning the title. He won 10 races that season and claimed the national crown by 36 points ahead of Brian Herbert, the 2008 URSS champ.

"Going into that season, you know we hoped we'd be decent," Williams said. "But we didn't think we'd be in the national championship hunt."

Jon Johnson won the inaugural crown in 2006, with Smokey Fairbank winning bragging rights the next season. Herbert followed with the title in 2008 before C.J. Johnson won a record-setting 16 races in 2009.

Ray Seemann won last year's title, by only 12 points, on the final night of the racing season at Dodge City.

"It would be really hard (to win back-to-back titles)," said Seemann, who has nine career URSS victories. "You have to be focused to get two championships in a row. It takes so much."

Seemann toiled many hours traveling and racing last season while winning the nip-and-tuck battle with Herbert. For a large portion of the season, Josh Fairbank was in the mix as well. He eventually finished third, just 36 points behind Seemann.

"When you're focusing on a championship, you have to look at the big picture," Seemann said. "You can't crash, because if you do, you could be out of it. This year, we're not running that much, trying to win some races and take some more risks than we did last year."

This year's battle has seen many new faces enter the mix for a national championship, including Jake Bubak, Jeff Radcliffe and Brian Hardman. Herbert also is in the mix, but there also are many races left to be finished.

That means drivers will have to be on top of their game during the most grueling time of summer, and keeping a good watch on their cars is just as important.

"You're motor has to be so much better," Williams said. "You can't go out and be off a pill or two or be too lean in the motor. The bottom line is you have to step up your game every night because it's very competitive."

NICK SCHWIEN

nschwien@dailynews.net