Twitter is one of those social internet products that comes out of nowhere but changes everything. At first, when no one used it, it seemed like one of those web fads, destined to fail – the ultimate “vox clamantis in deserto” (“a voice crying out in the wilderness”). But once people adopted and used Twitter, its value as a social and communication medium soared. Now almost everyone uses it, from politicians to celebrities, and it is rare to find a day when you don’t hear about something that was “tweeted”on Twitter. And on rare occasions, a passing tweet can be a catalyst for change. This is what happened when race car driver Graham Rahal tweeted about auctioning off one of his helmets to benefit fellow driver Dan Weldon’s family.
Dan Wheldon was an Indy car driver who lost his life on October 16th when his car crashed and flipped over as part of a tragic 15-car pileup. When Graham tweeted that he was going to place one of his helmets up for auction, with the proceeds benefitting Dan Wheldon’s family, others joined in to help. The result is the Dan Wheldon memorial auction, with 100% of the benefits going to the Dan Weldon Family Trust Fund. There are many interesting and remarkable items being sold on the auction, and we wanted to tell you about a few of them.
According to our internal data, the most popular auction is for a Firestone Tire Table Signed by all 2011 Indianapolis 500 Participants.
While there are other auctions with higher bids, this one has garnered the most attention. From the auction description:
Signed by all 2011 Indianapolis 500 participants. Item has a glass top, to act as a table. It is set up like a table and has a real glass top. This is a display tire and not an actual race tire. It’s signed by all 33 Indy 500 starters from this year, and a handful of Indy Lights drivers as well.
Next up on the list is one of several helmets on auction. This one is for the Race Worn Jimmie Johnson Helmet (2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Chase).
Helmets are unique to the driver and are highly collectible items. Jimmie Johnson is a five-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion (2006 – 2010) and is currently placed 6th in the 2011 season. The helmet will only be available to the winner of this auction after the end of the current season. The price of the helmet is currently $20,000.
The second most expensive item on auction during this auction for the Dan Wheldon family trust is also a helmet. This one is the Dario Franchitti 2011 Championship Helmet from the World Championship in Las Vegas.
The auction description notes that this is a rare helmet, one of four in public circulation, and one of ten worn by Dario this year. The current price for this helmet is $12,000.
As expected, there are many racing items up for auction, but interestingly, there are many other remarkable items that have been donated by others as well. There is a surfboard from Kelly Slater, soccer player Hope Solo’s signed jersey, and even an Indianapolis Colts Peyton Manning signed jersey.
Twitter has become a place where people go to galvanize like-minded individuals to support different causes. But it is also a place to express yourself, and people have indeed come to use it to document minutia in their lives, sometimes to the exasperation of friends and family. Dan Wheldon himself used it extensively to communicate with his fan base.
His final tweet on the day of the race that would take his life? “Green!!!”