Dan Wheldon Auction Opens

The Dan Wheldon auction is underway.  What began as a small gesture by a fellow IndyCar driver has blossomed into a mammoth–and still growing–event that includes dozens of autographed sports and celebrity memorabilia.  The auction raised $35,000 in bids during the first hour.

Graham Rahal, a driver with Chip Ganassi Racing didn’t know what he was starting when he offered to auction the race-used helmet, gloves and shoes he used in Las Vegas to raise money for the family of IndyCar driver Dan Wheldon, who was killed in a terrible accident in the season’s final race at Las Vegas October 16.

Rahal’s gesture began an outpouring of support from famous folks around the world who wanted to donate memorabilia to raise money for the Dan Wheldon Family Trust Fund.

“Wow everyone cant thank you enough. This is incredible. The support for the Wheldons leaves me speechless,” Rahal tweeted Monday night.

Among the items either already offered up for auction or slated to launch this week are:

-NFL helmet signed by Steve Young, Jerry Rice, and Deion Sanders

-Eli Manning autographed helmet

-Pro Football Hall of Fame helmet signed by Roger Staubach, Steve Young, Jerry Rice, Warren Moon, and Harry Carson

-Joe Montana signed item

-Bono (U2) signed item

– Graham Rahal’s Las Vegas-worn helmet, gloves and shoes

– Original Bobby Rahal race-worn helmet

– Race worn items from INDYCAR drivers such as Dario Franchitti, Tony Kanaan, Marco Andretti, Simona De Silvestro, Oriol Servia, James Hinchcliffe and Charlie Kimball; NASCAR drivers such as Jimmie Johnson, Juan Pablo Montoya, Jamie McMurray, Kyle Busch, Joey Logano and Max Papis; Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton, Mark Webber, Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello and NHRA stars Brandon Bernstein, Cory McLenathan, Antron Brown and Ron Capps.

– #77 Dan Wheldon Indianapolis Colts jersey signed by Indianapolis Colts players

– Signed Indiana Pacers jerseys from Larry Bird and Clark Kellogg

– Ritmo Mundo INDYCAR rose gold timepieces.

– Memorabilia from Tour de France winning cyclist Lance Armstrong, MotoGP champion Nicky Hayden, NBA star Dwight Howard, tennis legend Billie Jean King, actors Samuel L. Jackson and Angela Bassett and professional surfer Kelly Slater

– VIP Package for any of the Barrett Jackson Auctions, tires from Service Central and all of their partners

– INDYCAR Experience Two-Seater ride around Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

– Two-seat Grand-Am Daytona Prototype ride from Mike Shank Racing at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course

– Limited-edition Colt handgun with serial number “98INDY500” and two custom Colt Indianapolis 500 rifles.

The auction began Monday on eBay with thousands of dollars in bids pouring in almost immediately.  All of the proceeds will help Wheldon’s wife Susie and their two young children with future expenses.

eBay has waived all fees, and Auction Cause, a Los Angeles-based auction management agency specializing in high profile corporate, celebrity, and nonprofit eBay auction events.

Click here to follow the auction.