OXFORD – Whenever the sweltering heat gets to Steve Taylor’s family and friends at Oxford Plains Speedway, they go for a cool dip in the back of his pickup truck.

Taylor thought of the “pool on wheels” last year when the Madison family set up camp to watch the TD Banknorth 250. With a little bit of ingenuity, Taylor tapes an inexpensive pool liner around the bed of his pickup and fills it with crystal-clear water.

No worries here about heat stroke. Family friends just sit in the cool water and enjoy a beverage of their choice despite the blistering temperatures.

The Taylors just might be the envy of other campers who have also claimed a small plot on this dry and dusty parking lot to watch their favorite drivers compete in Sunday’s 250.

“We come down for the race and for a good time,” said Taylor, whose entourage camps just feet away from the train tracks in the back lot. “You could feel the train coming through the camper this morning.”

There are hundreds of RVs and pop-ups lining OPS, and they just keep coming.

“We’re pushing 500 (campers),” said OPS maintenance director Jim Vadeboncoeur. “We still probably got room for another 100. We filled up last year, and I expect to fill up this year.”

After those 100 openings are filled, campers will have to set up shop across the street, where it will cost them $40.

Vadeboncoeur added that OPS’ camping policy has changed this season, requiring all campers to be properly state registered and no campers be left on the speedway from Sept. 20 to April 15.

“We have campers from the day we open,” he explained. “They are in here and claim the spot the entire season.”

Beverly Hanson of Lake Placid, Fla., made the long trip to Maine to root for her favorite, Andy Shaw, from New Hampshire. She spends her summers rolling around New England in her RV, but the 250 is definitely one of the stops on her tour.

“Nextel Cup sucks,” said Hanson, a native of North Conway, N.H. “It’s just a parade. Here (OPS), they race.”

Mickey Ladder of Boothbay drove into the speedway Friday morning and set up camp along Route 26. And, of course, he has a personal favorite.

“I’d like to see Corey Williams win. He’s the local Boothbay boy.”

Allan Hynes of South Paris doesn’t have far to go when it comes to racing at OPS. He and 10 other families have their own block in the back lot. He has a son who races at OPS.

“It’s a family atmosphere,” said Hynes. “They are into it. It keeps the family together. It keeps us a pretty tight-knit community.”

Fumes and thundering stock cars nearby don’t faze this racing family.

“The smell of rubber and Sunoco fuel is wonderful. I love it,” said Hynes.

Hynes’ good friend, Randy Robitaille, says this is his first time camping out even though he has been racing and coming to the track for years.

“I love it,” he said. “It’s the place to be without hurrying home and all that.”

For Bonnie Lyons and her husband, Bob, of Calais, this is their second year hanging out with the rest of the campers at OPS.

When she heard Ricky Craven would race in the 250, she felt a second stay at the speedway was worth the trip.

“Ricky was coming, and that was double the pleasure,” said Lyons. “We’ll be here every year as long as we have our health.”

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