Rahal, who had been driving in the race when the 15-car accident took place, announced soon afterwards on Twitter and Facebook that he planned to auction off his helmet, shoes and gloves from the Las Vegas race in order to donate the proceeds to Wheldon's family through the Dan Wheldon Family Trust Fund.
Word quickly spread and personalities from the sports and entertainment world were soon donating dozens of items for Rahal to auction off, to the point where it rapidly outgrew Rahal's ability to handle it alone. The auction was taken over by eBay, which waived all fees, and by management agency Auction Cause, with all proceeds going to the family trust fund.
The initial auction period closed some weeks ago, but inevitably some winning bidders dropped out of paying and unsold items were put back on auction. However, this week organisers confirmed that all items had been sold and everyone had now paid up, allowing them to announce the final total.
Among the auction items sold were: a #77 Dan Wheldon Indianapolis Colts jersey signed by Colts players; 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.
Also sold were a New York Giants NFL helmet signed by Eli Manning; a two-seat Grand-Am Daytona Prototype ride from Mike Shank Racing at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course; and many race items donated by IndyCar and NASCAR drivers including five-time Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson - and of course the helmet, shoes and gloves from Graham Rahal that started the whole endeavour in the first place.
Donations to the Dan Wheldon Family Trust Fund can still be made online through the Dan Wheldon Memorial website