Popular Long Island race car parts distributor Dennis Freese of Masspaequa Park is on the mend after taking ill Saturday night at Riverhead Raceway. Freese has been the Riverhead Raceway parts distributor through his Oval Speed Unlimited business for over 30-years as well as having a parts truck at the Wall Stadium in Belmar, NJ.
Freese was tabbed by NASCAR Modified driver Dave Brigati to perform a start and park in Riverhead Raceway’s 50-lap NASCAR Modified feature. As was the game plan Dennis pulled to the infield as he was about to be lapped by the leaders of the race who so happened to be Dave Brigati and eventual race winner Howie Brode. When the caution flag waved Dennis took the Outlaw Racing entry back to the pits.
It was sometime after that point when Freese took ill and the Trans Care Ambulance crew was summoned. After stabilizing Dennis he was transported to the nearest hospital Peconic Bay Medical Center which is about 2 miles east of Riverhead Raceway. There it was determined that he would need to be transported via ground to Stony Brook University Hospital, a Level 1 trauma facility. There doctors discovered his heart had a 100% blockage in one artery and another had 60% blocked. A stent was used on the fully clogged artery while the other will be treated with medication.
As of Monday morning Dennis has been moved from the CCU unit to a regular room and as his close friend and former Late Model driver Greg Kleila put it “he’s one step closer to the front door”. It is hoped that a Tuesday (9-23) release from the hospital is in the works and Dennis can return home with his wife Barbara. Kleila, who underwent back surgery himself during the summer will be running Oval Speed Unlimited in the meantime during the normal hours of operation.
Long time Riverhead Raceway announcer and PR man Bob Finan noted how important Dennis is to the Long Island racing community, “Dennis is not just the straw that stirs the drink, he is the drink for all our race teams”. For many years Freese has fronted race teams parts on credit and would catch up with those teams after the races for payment with this last Saturday his last chance to do so. “We hope that everyone will now make sure they catch-up with Dennis” Finan encouraged.
Cards of cheer and well wishes can be sent to Oval Speed Unlimited 4786-B Sunrise Highway, Massapequa Park, NY 11762.
-Bob Finan Press Release. Photo Credit: Michael Pares.