The 2021 season was one that Rinus VeeKay would love to forget. The problem with that is that it would erase his lone win in the NTT IndyCar Series. It was essentially a tale of two halves for the Ed Carpenter Racing driver. Oddly enough, 2022 has started out eerily similar to last season.

VeeKay finished 6th in the season-opener at St Petersburg, which is exactly where he finished in the first race of last season. The first seven races in 2021 went very well for the 21-year old. He had three top-ten finishes in the first four races, then got his first career win on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course. He followed that up by qualifying on the front row for the Indianapolis 500 where he finished 8th.

The next two events came at Belle Isle, where he finished 2nd and 18th in the pair of races. That was his season in a nutshell.

VeeKay led 71 total laps in the first six races, but never led another lap for the rest of the season. His average finishing position over the final eight races was just 20.3 with a best-finish of 16th at Mid-Ohio.

Following the weekend at Belle Isle, VeeKay broke his collar bone in a bicycle accident, which forced him to miss the race at Road America. Although he recovered and was able to race the next round at Mid-Ohio, there was still something that was off. He wasn't performing at the same level that everyone saw during the first half of the season.

VeeKay did not want to blame his injury, as he does not like making excuses for his performance.

"I missed Road America. Mid-Ohio, I wasn't 100 percent. I was happy to be back in the car, but I wasn't 100 percent yet. The rest of the races I had no problems with the collarbone. I think the biggest problem was, as a team, we were just struggling a little bit getting up to pace, showing up fast."

Now in his third full-time season, the Fort Lauderdale native is excited to be back in the car, fully healthy.

Coming into the weekend, VeeKay made a statement by advancing to the Firestone Fast Six for the first time in his career where he qualified in 4th position. The driver of the No. 21 Chevrolet battled inside the top five for most of the afternoon before ultimately finishing in 6th place.

After cycling to the lead on Lap 49 of the race, VeeKay led the next 13 laps before having to pit for the final time. He then managed to hit an incredibly difficult fuel number in order to make it to the finish line. Overall, VeeKay was happy with Sunday's result.

"We really struggled with the reds, the balance went the exact opposite of what we thought it was going to do," he said. "We were a little surprised, but we made the best of the situation and finished P6. I saved a lot of fuel at the end, so that was good for the environment. Good start to the season! It’s good to be back in the Top 10 and back to the pace we had last year. I’m ready for Texas!"

In his first two seasons, VeeKay has shown flashes of his potential. With improvements made to the team, and more continuity among the team and its drivers, look for the young driver to keep progressing as the season continues.