Hoping to reclaim the land speed record, Craig Breedlove narrowly averted disaster Monday when his jet-powered car reached 675 mph, then tipped on its side and careened across the desert.

Breedlove was shaken but uninjured after his car, "Spirit of America," went out of control, missed a crowded spectator area by about a half mile and finally came to rest about two miles off the race track.The crash, stemming from a crosswind in the Black Rock Desert, damaged the car and its rear axle, ending Breedlove's quest this year to reclaim the record from Richard Noble of Britain.

The biggest disappointment, Breedlove said, was knowing he had exceeded the 633 mph record he was trying to break when the car tipped on its side and ended his record-setting attempt.

A record is determined by averaging the speeds of two runs, in opposite directions, which must be conducted within an hour.

"It makes it doubly disappointing," said Bill Breedlove, Craig's cousin and operations manager. "We knew the car had potential. It's very frustrating. The car was there but the weather and fate didn't cooperate."

"Obviously, it's not where we wanted to go," Craig Breedlove said after the first of his two planned runs. "I guess I'll be busy this winter. It will take a while to assess the problem. It was a good run on power. It just got away from me, but I'm all right. I think the wind was a factor. I think the wind picked it up and tilted it. I'll be back."

Breedlove, 59, was the world's fastest man five times between 1963 and 1965. Thirteen years ago, Noble set the mark with a run of 633.468 mph, also in the Black Rock Desert.

Breedlove was about 6 miles into the run and nearing the end of the mile-long stretch during which his speed was clocked when the wind kicked up to about 15-18 mph, sending the car on its side.

Bill Breedlove, who said the car was traveling 675 mph when the accident occured, said his cousin's driving skills avoided disaster.

"This could have been a lot more serious," Bill Breedlove said. "He held on to the car and stayed calm and cool, and this made a difference. Luckily he had the space in which to slow down the car."

The car shot past where a mobile home had been parked minutes earlier to view the event. Crew members asked the owners to move before the record run attempt.

The "Spirit of America" also came within 300 feet of a parked van.

"What I was thinking is he never should have run in this wind," said Elmo Gilette, a former director of racing meets at Utah's Bonneville Salt Flats, who had come out to witness Breedlove's attempt.

"At the speed he was going, if this happened a split second earlier, it could have been disaster. He could have gone through the spectator area. I wouldn't run in wind like this at 200 mph.

"The van was sitting there and I thought he would get it. It was a close call."

Over the years, Breedlove became the first man to travel faster than 400, 500 and 600 mph while setting five land speed records at Bonneville. He moved his attempt to regain the title to the remote desert 100 miles north of Reno when water depleted the dry flats.

His setback leaves Noble in line to surpass his own record, possibly next month, in the desert south of Amman, Jordan. Noble's "Thrust SSC" arrived in Jordan on Saturday.