After a strong 1998 season that just saw Joe miss out on his first Championship, he decided to take a year off. After talks with General Motors about campaigning the Chevrolet Corvette in the American Le Mans Series in the GT class, Joe was chosen to be allowed to purchase one of the twenty special 'kit' Corvettes that GM made available.
The initial idea was to campaign the Corvette in the GT class of the ALMS. As the 1999 season approached the rules for the GT class continued to evolve and change. With the rules begining to look as if they were out of the operating budget of the Phoenix Promotions team that the Nonnamaker's own, it was decided to not develop the car for the 1999 season.
With no full-time ride for the 1999 season, Joe turned his eye towards being a Team Manager. The 1999 season marked the first time that his two sons, Will and Wayne, would be co-driving together. With a brand new four door Mazda 626 from the factory and walking orders to develop the car into a race winner, Joe turned his eye towards helping his son's 1999 season.
His efforts were well rewarded as the two boys won the first race out with the sedan styled 626 and the two went on to win the 1999 ST1 Driver's Championship of the Motorola Cup. Joe's contribution was recognized at the year end banquet as he was named Team Manager of the Year for the entire Series.
Joe did find time to drive three races that season. He found himself with Andy Lally as his co-driver in a Team Spartanburg BMW Z3 at Road Atlanta. Only a failed caliper kept him from a likely podium finish. A top five finish in World Challenge might have materialized at Mosport had it not been for a BMW laying oil down in front of Joe. A one off ride with Scott Bove saw Joe try out the Porsche waters for the first time in his career.
As the season came to a close the organizers of the Motorola Cup made rule changes that allowed the Corvette to be eligible in a new class called Super Grand Sports. Joe looked towards building his dream car, a Corvette race car.
The building of the Corvette into a full fledged race machine had to be done in less than 80 days. The car was nothing more than a tube frame with a motor when the crew started on building and fabricating.
The season saw Joe paired once again with long-time co-driver Bill Pate. Neither driver had much rear wheel drive experience and the Corvette was a beast to drive. As they both progressed into learning the car, results began to steadily improve. A fifth place finish at Toronto was the best result of the season.
Once again Joe returned to drive the #43 Planet Earth Motorsports Corvette with Bill Pate as his co-driver. The season started off strong with a second place finish at Daytona International Speedway. The second race was at Homestead, but the car never made it to the race. A practice wreck totaled the rear of the car and injured Joe's neck.
After a six month absence Joe returned to drive one of the team's Acura Integras in the season finale. Another second place finish gave Joe two podiums in a season where he only ran two races.
As the 2002 season came upon Joe he was once again the driver of the #43 Planet Earth Motorsports Corvette. Same old car, but new co-driver. Bill Pate had found work to be taking up too much time to dedicate himself to driving so the team tabbed Shane Lewis to drive with Joe.
In a season the was riddled with bad luck, mechanical problems, and wrecks a shining moment of brilliance came through with an overall victory at Phoenix International Raceway. Joe and Shane shared the #43 Corvette en route to a small margin of victory over the defending Champions, Powell Motorsport.
At the end of the 2002 season it was decided to look into other avenues for the 2003 season. Although he was a lifelong Corvette fan, the team made the decision to sell the Corvette. The team bought SpeedSource's wrecked Porsche 911 and began the process of r