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The fastest car in the world broke the sound barrier twice but missed entering the record books by 60 seconds.

The jet-powered Thrust SSC streaked across the Black Rock Desert at 764.168 mph, then made a return trip at 760.125 mph, accompanied both times by a muffled sonic boom in Gerlach, Nev.

But a drag parachute failed to deploy on the first run and the car overshot the end of the 13-mile course by 1 1/2 miles. It took 61 minutes to turn the car around and position it at the start of the course for the second sprint.

The rules require two runs in opposite directions within one hour.

"So near, and yet so far," project leader Richard Noble said. Noble, himself a former land speed record-holder, said his car would be back in the desert 125 miles north of Reno early today to achieve his ultimate goal of Mach 1, plus 10 percent.

If it's successful, the record would be established exactly 50 years after Chuck Yeager became the first person to ever burst through the sound barrier and survive.

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