Krantz Motorsports drivers race to make life better for kids in need

A flagman waves the green flag at Riverhead

A flagman waves the green flag at Riverhead Raceway. (July 16, 2011) (Credit: Daniel Brennan)

Unlike many drivers at Riverhead Raceway, Chad Churilla and David Roys don't primarily compete to capture a checkered flag.

Churilla, a Hauppauge native, drives his charger car, and Roys, from Coram, drives a modified vehicle -- as part of the Krantz Motorsports' Race for Kids race team -- to raise awareness for Angela's House.

"It's almost counterintuitive because as driver, you see a hole open up and you want to drive through it, but now you realize that's not really why you're here anymore," Churilla said. "If I take first place, then great, but the job is just to finish."

The more laps they complete, the more visible the Angela's House logo on their cars becomes.

Bob and Angie Policastro created Angela's House in 1992 to help medically frail children and their families. In some severe cases, the care these children require exist a great distance away, sometimes forcing these children to live away from their families in a facility capable of providing care they need. Angela's House offers these children a home in which they will live nearer their family while receiving that care.

Angela's House is named after the Policastros' daughter, Angela, born in 1989. Angela suffered severe brain damage during birth, requiring nursing care. The Policastros soon learned that there were no local specialized homes or facilities available that could care for her. The nearest facilities were hours from their Long Island home. The Policastros placed Angela in a specialty hospital they found in Connecticut. The lack of local services put a strain on the family, who needed to travel more than two hours to spend time with their daughter, Bob Policastro said. Angela succumbed to her frail state and passed away shortly after her first birthday.

After more than 10 years of advocating awareness, the Policastros opened the first Angela's House in East Moriches in 2000, providing 24-hour nursing care. In 2005, they opened a second home in Smithtown.

A third house in Stony Brook is in the works, but "the cost of getting this third house started is mind-boggling to a small agency trying to make it work," Bob Policastro said.

That's where Krantz Motorsports comes in. Since last August, 100 percent of Race for Kids' proceeds has gone to Angela's House, said Darren Krantz, founder and president of Race for Kids. By selling advertising to various companies for around $100-$200 per lap, Krantz estimates that raceforkids.com raises between $12,000-$24,000 a week for Angela's House, which now services more than 500 families, according to Policastro.

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